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Travel, Singapore

Benita Aw Yeong
Friday, May 16, 2014

Travel, Singapore

Stuck but no panic

The New Paper | Benita Aw Yeong | Friday, May 16, 2014

Screenshot from a video on YouTube website showing a tour bus carrying Singaporean tourists who were on their way to Wanfo Temple on Mount Wutai in Shanxi province, China, when it got stuck in the snow. About 30cm of thick snow collected under it, rendering it immobile. Local firefighters cleared the snow with shovels and axes.

They were stuck in thick snow in China, perched on a narrow mountain pass lashed by strong winds.

Even after rescue personnel arrived 45 minutes later, it was a struggle to get them moving again.

Some of the 100 or so Singaporean tourists stuck in three buses on their way to Mount Wutai were worried and called the Singapore embassy in Beijing, The New Paper understands.

But they did not panic.

The passengers, mostly in their 50s and 60s, included veteran TV actress Lin Mei Jiao.

The incident happened between 3pm and 4pm on Sunday, in northern China's Shanxi province.

The three buses were just 15 minutes from Wanfo Temple, a Buddhist shrine where the tourists were going to seek blessings, said tour leader Eric Yong. He was leading the eight-day tour under the CTC Travel agency.

He is still with the tour group which will visit places like Taiyuan, Shanxi's capital, and Pingyao, a county in the province, before returning to Singapore on Friday.

The marketing manager for CTC said that although all three buses did not make it to Wanfo Temple, only one bus was affected by the snow.

That bus was stalled because strong winds blew snow from a surrounding mountain onto the vehicle while it was stationary, said Mr Yong.

"We had to stop and wait because two cars in front of the bus got stuck due to the snow.

"The road was narrow, and it was not possible to overtake them," explained the 45-year-old guide, who has been in this industry for 10 years.

While the bus was at a standstill, snow collected around its tyres, making it impossible for it to start moving again, he said.

The wheels were covered in snow about 30cm thick.

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