TAIYUAN, SHANXI - More than 90 Singaporean tourists, many of them elderly, were trapped in a snowstorm in northern China's Shanxi province for more than three hours on Sunday.
None of them were injured, according to media reports on Monday, which suggested that they continued with their holiday after the incident.
The tourists were visiting Mount Wutai on Sunday when snow and freezing rain fell unexpectedly at the popular scenic spot, according to China News Agency (CNA).
The three bus coaches they were in had difficulty moving after their wheels got stuck in the snow, said to be about 20cm to 30cm thick.
The situation was made more precarious by the fact that the buses were close to the edge of the mountain road, with visibility down to less than 10m.
CNA reported that a fire squadron was rushed to the scene after receiving a call for help.
The rescuers made their way to the buses largely on foot as the mountain road was extremely slippery and exposed to powerful winds.
Freeing the buses was no easy task either. Initially, the firefighters spread sand and stone under the wheels in an attempt to enable the buses to move. But that did not work.
They later used axes and shovels to clear the snow under the wheels, before using a forklift to tow the coaches out of the snow.
The ordeal made some of the Singaporean tourists jittery, but the rescuers managed to calm them down, according to CNA.
The tourists, most of them above 60 years old, were on a eight-day tour of Shanxi organised by the Singapore-based CTC Tour Agency, according to media reports and postings on Weibo, China’s equivalent of Twitter.
The tourists headed for the cities of Pingyao and Taiyuan in Shanxi after leaving Wutai, and are scheduled to return to Singapore on Friday.
Wutai, in northern Shanxi, is a famous tourist destination among Buddhists as ancient temples dot the mountain, some of which are said to be more than a thousand years old.