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Japanese tourist dies climbing Australia’s Uluru

/ 09:35 AM July 04, 2018

The arkose massif of Uluru (Ayers Rock) rises 348 meters above the surrounding desert of central Australia. Uluru, the second largest monolith on Earth after Mt Augustus in Western Australia, has profound cultural significance for the local Pitjantjatjara and Yankuntjatjara Aborigines. Between 1931 and 1946 only 22 people were known to have climbed Uluru.  (AFP FILE PHOTO/Torsten BLACKWOOD) 

Sydney, Australia – A Japanese tourist has died attempting to climb Australian tourist attraction Uluru, police said Wednesday, adding to the death toll on the world’s largest monolith.

Emergency services responded to a call on Tuesday afternoon, but the 76-year-old was declared dead at the scene.

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“This person’s believed to be a Japanese national. At this stage, we don’t believe it’s anything suspicious,” Northern Territory police Superintendent Shaun Gill told reporters.

At least 36 people have died on Uluru, which soars 348 meters (1,148 feet), since it was opened to tourists in the 1950s, with many others injured.

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Many tourists sees scrambling up the treacherous sides of the sandstone symbol of the Outback, also known as Ayers Rock, as a must-do on their visit to Australia.

But they do so against the wishes of the traditional Aboriginal owners, the Anangu, to whom the site is sacred. A ban on the climb is due to come into force in October 2019.

About 300,000 people visit each year and, while there are no official figures on how many climb, their numbers are reported to have declined significantly in recent years.                         /kga

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TAGS: Aborigines, Anangu, Australia, Ayers Rock, climb, Japan, monolith, Mountain, Putback, Tourism, Uluru
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