Fudan climbers apologize for 'reckless behavior'

SHANGHAI students rescued from the Yellow Mountain in Anhui Province in an operation that cost a young policeman his life yesterday apologized publicly for their 'reckless behavior.' The statement followed a barrage of online criticism accusing the 18 climbers, including 14 students of the city's Fudan University - of indifference toward their rescuers. They were led to safety at the scenic area in southern Anhui on Monday morning. However, 24-year-old Zhang Ninghai died after he fell from a cliff while escorting the rescued students back to a hotel. Public anger increased when it emerged that Fudan students, including one of the 18, had coldly considered online how the tragedy affected the presidency of the university climbing club and discussed how best to manage public relations.

Enraged web users went so far as to publish the students' identities and contact details online. Facing growing hostility, the chastened climbers launched a microblog on sina.com. 'Each of us, the 18 members, is undeniably responsible for this incident,' they said. 'Our reckless behavior caused trouble for the departments engaged in the rescue operation and led to the death of Zhang Ninghai. 'We sincerely apologize to Zhang's family and all the rescuers.' University officials and two members of the climbing team left for the mountain yesterday to attend Zhang's funeral today. The other 16 members will mourn on campus today and go to meet Zhang's parents tomorrow or send their condolences. Zhang has been recognized by Anhui government as a martyr an official honor for people who sacrifice their lives for others. The climbers, 10 men and eight women, left for Shanghai on Monday evening after Zhang's body was carried out of the area. Some Anhui Province natives were offended by the fact that the climbers left before the arrival of Zhang's parents. Though Zhang's father said he doesn't blame the students, Zhang's colleagues and some local journalists have referred to 'his sacrifice for the 18 unworthy.' 'We deserve all the criticism,' said Shi Chengzu, one of the 18 climbers.


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