On a sliding scale of risk

12th October 2007 at 01:00
PUPILS IN China have been asked to go a bridge too far. Nearly 500 children, some as young as four, have to cross the often raging Nujiang river each day to get to school. The problem is, there is no bridge.

So school authorities in Yunnan province have provided a zip line stretched across the 200-metre-wide canyon. Children from Maji village fasten themselves to the cable with a caribiner, a steel clasp, and slide across. "I have to hand-walk for about 60 metres since my light weight makes me stop about two thirds of the way across," said A Oia, the school's youngest pupil.

Officials have now agreed to spend pound;17,000 to build a bridge after a television programme drew attention to the dangerous situation.

Reports do not state how the pupils get back home up the cable at the end of the school day.

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