Abu Dhabi, UAEFriday 30 October 2020

Italian tourist killed by falling rock in Jordan’s Petra

Site is the most famous tourist destination in the kingdom

Petra was chosen in 2007 as one of the seven 'New Wonders of the World'. AFP
Petra was chosen in 2007 as one of the seven 'New Wonders of the World'. AFP

An Italian tourist has died after he was crushed by a falling rock at the ancient site of Petra in south-west Jordan on Thursday.

The man, believed to be in his thirties, was visiting the famous site with three other Italians tourists when he was fatally hit by the rock at the end of a narrow passage, local news site Roya News reported.

A tour guide who works at the site told The National the man was travelling with his mother, sister and girlfriend at the time of the accident.

The Jordanian authorities have launched an investigation into the incident but initial inquiries indicate it was a freak accident.

Heavy rainfall the previous evening is believed to have caused the rocks to loosen, the Petra Development and Tourism Region Authority said.

Several sections of rock are due to be removed in March as part of a project with the UN, the authority said.

The chairman of the Petra Region Authority Board of Commissioners, Dr Sulaiman Al Farajat, said that all appropriate authorities were working together to ensure the safety of tourists within the kingdom.

Known to many as the rose red city after the vibrant colours of the rock formations into which the magnificent structures have been carved, Petra is one of Jordan’s top tourist sites.

A report published this year by the tourism authority showed a 37 per cent increase in the number of foreign and local visitors to Petra in January, compared with the same month in 2019.

The report also revealed that the number of visitors last month reached 75,308, including 69,413 foreigners, double the number of foreign visitors from 2018.

Last year, Jordan’s tourism industry welcomed a 10.2 per cent increase in revenues over 2018, reaching a total of 4.11 billion Jordanian dinars (Dh59.1bn).

Updated: February 22, 2020 09:56 AM

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