Chinese raft man attempting epic Yangtze voyage is foiled by police
Ponytailed adventurer causes concern before being intercepted on makeshift wooden, PVC and canvas vessel, and told to give up on his dream
A 42-year-old man who set out to cross China on the Yangtze River using a small wooden raft has had his journey cut short by worried police officers, according to a local media report.
Officers stepped in last week after receiving a call from concerned members of the public, the Xunyang Evening News reported on Thursday.
The man, identified only by his surname Lei and described as ponytailed and wearing a white T-shirt, reportedly told officers he wanted to test his limits and pilot his home-made craft from Guilin to Beijing – more than 2,000km (over 1,200 miles) – in 75 days.
But police from Pengze county, part of Jiujiang city in Jiangxi province – roughly halfway into the journey – told the newspaper they found Lei on an unpowered wooden raft that appeared to be unsteady, buffeted by strong wind and waves, and stopped him immediately.
Lei had used his mobile phone attached to a selfie stick to broadcast his progress live on social media, and police indicated that he was surprised when they decided to put an end to his voyage.
“I firmly believe Chinese people can also trek through difficult terrain and rivers and challenge the wilderness to survive,” Lei was quoted as telling police.
A lack of funds may have contributed to Lei being foiled, the report said, describing his raft as being made from a few pieces of wood, some PVC pipes, bits of canvas and a makeshift tent to provide shelter from wind and rain.
Photographs included in the report indicated that the craft had wheels attached to its sides.
Police said Lei had not obtained a licence for his vessel, which was not equipped with any life-saving equipment, and appeared to lack survival skills or training, the report stated.
The police said Lei was given a warning, and that he agreed to give up on his adventure. The raft was taken to shore and earmarked for disposal, the report said.