Blackout on details of ballooning accident

PUBLISHED : Friday, 22 March, 1996, 12:00am
UPDATED : Friday, 22 March, 1996, 12:00am

Employees of the Fantasy Film City in Guangzhou yesterday said Chinese authorities had banned them from discussing a ballooning accident which claimed the life of a Hong Kong teenager.

Teams of security guards were present throughout the 60-hectare amusement park in the city of Panyu, rural Guangzhou, keeping watch on workers and visitors. The site where tourists had previously lined up for rides on the helium-filled balloon had been cleared, and the device removed. Not even a signboard advertising the ride could be seen.

Hong Kong tourist Chan Man-ling, 17, died on Wednesday after ropes anchoring the balloon gave way and she soared about 40 kilometres to Dongguan. The balloon burst, leaving Chan to plummet to the earth.

Zhuhai visitor Zhang Yong, who had been to the park previously, said: 'There were boards showing the directions to the balloon game counter, but they are all gone now.' Asked about the accident, a worker at the roller-skating booth said: 'I have not heard of any accident.

' I do not know whether we have a balloon game here.' A security guard told the South China Morning Post the provincial propaganda department had ordered them to 'help keep everything under control'. He refused to elaborate.

A Panyu security bureau officer said: 'We shall make use of our propaganda channels to release details when we think it suitable.'