Safety questions arise after 3 British tourists die climbing Vietnam waterfall

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Rescuers recover the bodies of three British tourists down an abyss near the Datanla Falls in Da Lat on February 26. Photo: Gia Binh Rescuers recover the bodies of three British tourists down an abyss near the Datanla Falls in Da Lat on February 26. Photo: Gia Binh

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Officials from the central province of Lam Dong said the three British tourists who died in a climbing accident at the Datanla Falls had not been using proper safety equipment. 
Hoang Ngoc Huy, a tourism official at the province’s tourism and sports department, told news website Zing the foreigners did not buy entry tickets and thus were not provided with necessary equipment. 
The victims, 25-year-old man Christian Sloan and two women Izzy Squire, 19, and Beth Anderson, 25, were led by a tour guide from local company Dam Me, local media reported.
Rescuers recovered their bodies on Friday afternoon, all with safety jackets on. But no ropes or climbing gears were found.
Initial investigation suggested that the three might have slipped while descending the waterfall.
Tuoi Tre newspaper cited police as saying that all the victims died of brain injuries after hitting rocks.
The bodies were sent to Ho Chi Minh City on Friday night.
The tour guide told police that he had requested the tourists not to climb down the waterfall -- a claim that can be very difficult, if not impossible, to prove.
The director of the travel firm has also been questioned.
Several foreign newspapers have reported that the tourists were traveling with an unauthorized tour guide.
But major newspapers in Vietnam cited sources from Lam Dong tourism authorities as saying that he has been licensed.
Nguyen Duc Dung, deputy director of Lam Dong Tourism JSC, which manages the Datanla Falls, said the terrain here is “pretty dangerous” and his company has highly recommended travel firms to buy tickets for their tourists to receive proper safety equipment.
Police are still investigating the case. 

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