China’s Cracking Glass Bridge Prank
A glass bridge high on a mountainside in China is made to look like it is shattering as you walk across it, but it could also really shatter.
Videos of people trying to cross the bridge as it appears to crack under their feet have outraged Chinese social media users, who feel it is an insensitive gimmick that can lead to a heart attack. The bridge also supposedly has broken shards wedged between layers of glass to further spook people as they make their way across in fear, Mashable reported.
The bridge is located in northern China’s Taihang Mountain in Hebei Province. The bridge is 3,871 feet above sea level. Visitors get a direct view of the emptiness beneath their feet when they peer through the glass panel walkway. According to Mashable, the scary part is toward the end, where sounds and visuals simulate a disintegrating bridge.
The problem with the gimmick is that glass bridges in China really have cracked under people’s feet. Some are questioning whether this is actually a gimmick at all, or was made to cover up actual cracks in the bridge. The glass panels used in these bridges are not known for being unbreakable.
Bridge officials have tried to prove these bridges are safe by having people hit the panels with sledge hammers. A BBC video indicates an instance of this. The glass really did crack under the weight of the hits. Officials have tried to say that it doesn’t mean the bridge isn’t safe if one of the panels cracks. Actual cracked panels could be the source of the supposedly intentionally placed broken shards at Taihang Mountain.
In 2015 visitors to a glass bridge in Henan Province screamed after the mountaintop bridge started cracking under their feet. Officials tried to downplay the incident, saying cracked glass flooring doesn’t indicate danger, USA Today reported. Reports after the incident indicated the bridge had to close. No reports have said if it reopened.
“I was almost at the end and suddenly I heard a sound. My foot shook a little. I looked down and I saw that there was a crack in the floor,” said Lee Dong Hai via Chinese social media.
“A lot of people started to scream,” Hai wrote. “I screamed out, ‘It cracked! It really cracked!’ and then I pushed the people in front of me so that we could run out of the way.”
“Yuntaishan glass broken plank floor not a serious break? … What … an international joke,” wrote a Chinese social media user, countering official claims of minimal danger, via the USA Today article.
Supposedly the world’s longest and tallest glass bridge at the time it was built, the Zhangjiajie Glass Bridge, had to close two weeks after it opened last year, the BBC reported. There was no mention of cracks but just an overwhelming number of visitors, more than the attraction was designed for. It has since reopened.