China's new glass bridges test courage of tourists, who flock there despite news of cracks

Chinese tourists walk across a glass-bottomed suspension bridge in the Shinuizhai mountains in Pingjang county, Hunan province some 150 kilometers from Changsha on Oct 7, 2015. The bridge, originally a wooden walkway spanning some 300 meters across t
Chinese tourists walk across a glass-bottomed suspension bridge in the Shinuizhai mountains in Pingjang county, Hunan province some 150 kilometers from Changsha on Oct 7, 2015. The bridge, originally a wooden walkway spanning some 300 meters across the 180m-deep valley, reopened two weeks ago following renovations as a glass-bottomed tourist attraction. PHOTO: AFP
A view of cracked glass on a panel of the glass walkway at Yuntai Mountain Park in China's northern Henan province is seen in this still image obtained from video on Oct 7, 2015. An official at the park said on Wednesday that the glass walkway, which
A view of cracked glass on a panel of the glass walkway at Yuntai Mountain Park in China's northern Henan province is seen in this still image obtained from video on Oct 7, 2015. An official at the park said on Wednesday that the glass walkway, which tourists reported a panel of which had shattered, met national safety standards during routine inspections, state media reported.PHOTO: REUTERS
A Chinese tourist walks across the 300m long glass-bottomed suspension bridge.
A Chinese tourist walks across the 300m long glass-bottomed suspension bridge.PHOTO: AFP
 A general view of a section of a glass walkway along mountain side at Yuntai Mountain Park in China's northern Henan province, in this still image obtained from video on Oct 7, 2015. An official at the park said on Wednesday that the glass walkway,
A general view of a section of a glass walkway along mountain side at Yuntai Mountain Park in China's northern Henan province, in this still image obtained from video on Oct 7, 2015. An official at the park said on Wednesday that the glass walkway, which tourists reported a panel of which had shattered, met national safety standards during routine inspections, state media reported.PHOTO: REUTERS
Chinese tourists walk across a glass-bottomed suspension bridge in the Shinuizhai mountains in Pingjang county, Hunan province some 150 kilometers from Changsha on Oct 8, 2015. The bridge, originally a wooden walkway spanning some 300 meters across t
Chinese tourists walk across a glass-bottomed suspension bridge in the Shinuizhai mountains in Pingjang county, Hunan province some 150 kilometers from Changsha on Oct 8, 2015. The bridge, originally a wooden walkway spanning some 300 meters across the 180-meter deep valley, reopened two weeks ago following renovations as a glass-bottomed tourist attraction. PHOTO: REUTERS
 A view shows the glass-bottomed suspension bridge in the Shinuizhai mountains in Pingjang county, Hunan province some 150 kilometers from Changsha on Oct 8, 2015. The bridge, originally a wooden walkway spanning some 300 meters across the 180m-deep
A view shows the glass-bottomed suspension bridge in the Shinuizhai mountains in Pingjang county, Hunan province some 150 kilometers from Changsha on Oct 8, 2015. The bridge, originally a wooden walkway spanning some 300 meters across the 180m-deep valley, reopened two weeks ago following renovations as a glass-bottomed tourist attraction. PHOTO: AFP

PINGJIANG, China (AFP) - China's first glass suspension bridge, which dangles 180m over a canyon in the central Hunan province, has excited - and terrified - thousands of visitors since opening two weeks ago.

"I'm afraid to look down. I can only look straight ahead," said one young woman crossing the 300m long structure.

Visitors were apparently not put off the experience despite news this week of cracks appearing on a glass walkway over a canyon in nearby Henan province, reportedly because someone dropped a stainless steel cup on it. The authorities insisted it was still safe.

The cracks, which appeared on a glass bridge in Yuntai mountain in the northern province of Henan "doesn't affect safety", park officials were quoted as saying about the incident that caused panic among visitors.

The cracks appeared in the glass-bottomed walkway suspended 1,080m over a canyon, reports said.

Images showing small cracks in the "skywalk" built around a mountain, which opened just two weeks ago, spread on social media along with doubts over its safety.

"When I was almost at the end (of the walkway), there was a sudden loud bang and a tremor beneath my feet," the state-run China Net cited one woman as saying on Tuesday (Oct 7).

The cracks resembled "winter frost on a window pane", the report said, and were apparently caused by a dropped stainless steel cup.

Over at the Hunan glass bridge, in a scenic area of Pingjiang county, officials were forced to impose a cap of 10,000 people a day during recent holidays after visitors flocked to it.

 
 

The glass-bottomed bridge, which replaced a wooden walkway, opened on Sept 24 - just in time for China's week-long National Day holiday, a peak travel period.

As dozens of people trudged across the bridge, it shook underfoot and photos posted online showed some visitors kneeling or crouching on the transparent surface, too scared to move.

"The glass bridge is a little scary to me since I have a fear of heights. I didn't look down," said a muscular young man, though his phobia didn't stop him from striking a ballet pose on the bridge.

The structure is made from two layers of hardened glass with a total thickness of 24mm, according to state media.

One family crossed hand-in-hand with their son in the middle.

"We are not scared at all, it's so much fun," the mother said, as they strode boldly forward.