For one Chinese tour guide, the thought of walking across a glass bridge suspended thousands of feet in the air was terrifying. However, facing his fears, he chose to take the plunge and try it for himself.
Unfortunately, after stepping out onto the bridge, something went terribly wrong.
The Glass Bridge
China is known for its glasses bridges, in fact, over 60 of them have been built all over the country. While we can’t understand why anyone would want to stand suspended in the air on a glass pane, apparently the360-degree experience it creates is worth the terror.
A Typical Day
For one Chinese tour guide, taking visitors to iconic places was just a typical day. On this particular day, he was scheduled to lead a group across a glass bridge in Hebei, China. While he wasn’t too thrilled about the day’s excursion, he didn’t want to let the tourists down.
The glass walkway is located on the eastern face of Taihang Mountain. It hangs 3,871 feet above sea level and provides an incredible view of the drop down. This type of experience has become very popular in China and the views it provides is spectacular.
A Grand Opening
The East Taihang Glasswalk opened in late 2017 and immediately achieved major success. The idea behind the glass walkway was to provide an uninhibited view of the area, allowing guests to look all around without the path obstructing any of the natural beauty.
An Unsuspecting Guide
The morning that the tour guide set out to lead his group across the glass walkway was like any other. However, he was about to get the surprise of his life. Little did he know his life was going to flash before his eyes in a matter of seconds.
I’ll Go First
With his tour group a little wary of the glass walkway, the guide decided to venture out on his own to show them it was completely safe. At first, everything goes perfectly fine. He steps out onto the glass and takes several steps.
Then something terrible happens.
The First Crack
The guide hears the noise of glass cracking. As he looks down, fine cracks begin to appear in the glass. For a moment, he is frozen in terror. What should he do? If he runs he could break the glass even quicker and fall to his death.
No Time to Think
Unfortunately, in a matter of seconds, the glass continues to crack all around him. The tour guide screams out in fear as realizes he has only moments before the glass underneath him breaks away and he falls thousands of feet to his death.
An Unfortunate Fall
As the glass continues to give way, the tour guide’s legs become weak and he trips and falls. He knew at that moment, it was all over. The moment his body hit the glass, the walkway would shatter and he would face a fall of over 3,000 feet.
Brace for Impact
The tour guide slammed into the glass walkway and then…nothing happened. How could this be? Why didn’t the glass shatter and send him to his death?
A Very Bad Marketing Campaign
Well, it seemed the cracking glass in the walkway was all a part of a high-profile publicity stunt. Utilizing state of the art sound effects and projections, it created the illusion of the glass breaking.
Laughing It Off
Still shaken by the ordeal, the tour guide shakily got to his feet and laughed. Of course, his experience had been filmed for the world to see and it immediately went viral.
Spreading Like Wildfire
As the video was shared across social media, people chimed in on the situation. Some felt the publicity stunt was hilarious, while others could understand why people would be terrified. Of course, this didn’t stop the workers at Taihang from keeping the stunt going.
It almost seemed like the people working at the glass walkway enjoyed watching the visitors scream in terror as they thought the glass was breaking. However, there were real concerns that a guest could react in such a way they actually did fall off the walkway.
Realizing that the stunt was receiving mixed reactions, the East Taihang district administration released an official apology to the public. They described the splintering glass as just an “effect” and it was only incorporated into a small portion of the bridge. The hope had been to create something “provocative.”
How It’s Done
The designers of the walkway revealed that shattered glass fragments were placed in one of the layers of the walkway. As people walked on the panels, the glass appears to splinter and the sounds of glass breaking can be heard. Paired with visual and audio cues, it’s a very realistic effect.
You can count us out!
Sorry, But Too Bad
While the people involved with the building of the walkway were sorry that people were frightened, there are currently no plans to replace the shattered panels. According to the designers, they want everyone to experience the thrill.
How about no?
Glass Walkways Pose Problems
While this was just a publicity stunt, there have been actual incidents of glass walkways cracking. Back in 2015, the Yuntai glass pathway in Henan actually splintered. After panic and questioning its safety, it was closed.
It’s Safe, We Promise
Despite the risk, the Chinese government and those involved in building these pathways believe they are completely safe. When the Zhangjiajie bridge opened, it had many rounds of safety testing, which included driving huge SUVs over the bridge.
However, despite these tests people still have doubts. Would you walk across a glass bridge?