Group relives terror of Silk Road ordeal

PUBLISHED : Sunday, 15 August, 1999, 12:00am
UPDATED : Sunday, 15 August, 1999, 12:00am

A GROUP of Hong Kong tourists stranded on the Silk Road for a week returned to Hong Kong last night and told how they prayed for their lives as a landslide crashed down around their stricken car.

Nine of the 11-strong party flew in from Xian after completing their sightseeing tour in Xinjiang and relived their ordeal trapped in the border town of Taxkorgan by rock falls and raging floods.

Lau Pik-yu, spoke of the travellers' narrow escape from a landslide as they travelled from Taxkorgan to Kashgar.

'The skies became very dark and the rain was pelting down. Our car was stuck in a pool of mud and the driver was desperately trying to start the engine.

'Then we saw rocks from the mountains surrounding us falling.

'It looked like the mountains were crashing towards us. No one spoke and it was deadly quiet in the car,' said Ms Lau. 'Some of us began to pray, we were really, really scared and thought we would die.' Luckily for Ms Lau and her friends, a passing coach spotted their car.

Leung Siu-wan, another member of the group, said: 'Their vehicle pulled our car out of the mud and . . . took us to Taxkorgan.' She said the group - mostly teachers - was far from safe in the flood-hit town as there was no clean water or enough food.

'As the main roads were cut off, we didn't have many food supplies. Our food was on a ration system,' she said.

Ms Lau said despite the dire situation, the group never lost heart.

'We tried entertaining ourselves. We went out with local people to collect mushrooms for food. We found them extremely friendly and helpful.' The tourists were stranded in Taxkorgan from July 31 to August 7 before they trekked to Kashgar.

Ms Lau advised other tourists to study weather conditions before making trips. The other two tour members travelled to Guangzhou yesterday and were expected back soon.