Chinese tourist falls off cliff while posing for photo on Indonesian volcano

A Chinese woman wanting to pose for a photo on an Indonesian volcano known for its stunning “blue fire” phenomenon died after stepping on her clothing and falling off a cliff on April 20.

Ms Huang Lihong, 31, and her husband Zhang Yong, 32, were on a guided tour to Ijen – a volcano tourism park in East Java province – when the couple climbed to the edge of the crater to watch the sunrise, Hongxing News reported.

Their tour guide said that he had warned the couple about the dangers on the crater.

At first Ms Huang kept a safe distance of two to three metres away from the edge of the cliff as she posed for photos, said the guide.

Then she started moving backwards to be closer to a tree with bare straggly branches to capture a more beautiful backdrop.

But as she walked backwards, she accidentally stepped on her long clothing and fell off the cliff. It was not clear if she was wearing a dress or skirt.

Local police said on April 21 the victim plummeted from a height of 75m and died from the impact of her fall. They have classified her death as an accident.

The Ijen is well-known for its “blue fire”, which is in fact blue light emitted from the combustion of sulfuric gases.

Its crater, known as Kawah Ijen, which means lonely crater, is a popular site for tourists and miners, who dig up hardening yellow sulphur to sell for use in everything from cosmetics to matchsticks.

The volcano regularly puffs out small amounts of noxious gases but the site stays open to the public.

Indonesia is home to around 130 active volcanoes. Millions of Indonesians live and work near volcanoes, largely because of the fertile farming soil.

In February, a 53-year-old Polish tourist was found dead on a climbing route during a hike up to Kawah Ijen.

In September 2015, a 68-year-old Swiss man scaling Ijen collapsed and died en route to the crater after complaining about difficulty in breathing.

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