3 British tourists die in Viet waterfall accident

Rescuers with the body of one of three British tourists who died after falling into a waterfall on the outskirts of the central highland town of Dalat in Vietnam on Friday. It is believed that one of them slipped and inadvertently dragged the others
Rescuers with the body of one of three British tourists who died after falling into a waterfall on the outskirts of the central highland town of Dalat in Vietnam on Friday. It is believed that one of them slipped and inadvertently dragged the others down.PHOTO: AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE

HANOI • Three British tourists fell to their deaths while exploring a waterfall in Vietnam when one of them slipped and inadvertently dragged the others down.

The bodies of one man and two women - identified as Christian Sloan and Beth Anderson, both 25, and Izzy Squire, 19 - were recovered on Friday by aid workers who scrambled down cliffs abutting the tiered Datanla waterfalls outside of Dalat, Agence France-Presse said.

"When we found the bodies, we found their helmets and safety jackets, but no ropes," Mr Nguyen Van Yen, deputy chairman of Lam Dong province, who was in charge of the operation to recover the bodies, told the BBC yesterday.

"According to our initial investigation, after visiting the Datanla waterfalls, they went to the forest... for canyoning. On their way, they passed through a stream which flowed into a waterfall. Unfortunately a person slipped, taking the other two (along)," he said.

The deputy director of the Lam Dong joint stock tourist company which manages the Datanla waterfalls, Mr Vo Anh Tan, said the group had an unauthorised tour guide when the accident occurred, reported The Mirror Online.

He said the tour of the falls was organised by the unauthorised guide, who apparently did not pay for entrance tickets and did not use the company's safety equipment.

The guide was detained by the police for questioning.

The British Embassy in Hanoi confirmed that Mr Sloan was killed in the accident, though it declined to release the names of the two women who died. Their bodies were transferred to Ho Chi Minh City late on Friday night, according to Agence France- Presse.

The Datanla falls is a hub for adventure tourists, with opportunities to rappel and luge. While Vietnam and its neighbours in South- east Asia are travel magnets for young backpackers, accidents are frequent amid weak law enforcement and scant safety oversight.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Sunday Times on February 28, 2016, with the headline '3 British tourists die in Viet waterfall accident'. Print Edition | Subscribe