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Právo: Inexperienced Asian canoeists risk health on Vltava

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Prague, July 28 (CTK) – The upper reaches of the Vltava River have been overcrowded with a record high number of tourists going down the river these days, daily Pravo wrote on Friday, adding that foreign canoeists, mainly Asians, face troubles and even life-threatening situations due to their inexperience.

More than 10,000 canoeists set off down the river every day along its section between Vyssi Brod and Ceske Budejovice, south Bohemia, the daily writes.

The mayors of the towns concerned complain about a mess the canoeists leave behind, and seek ways to tackle the problem.

“There have been proposals to introduce fees for the boats going down the river,” Dalibor Carda, mayor of the UNESCO-listed town of Cesky Krumlov, is quoted as saying.

“We will probably install signs across the town to ban the entry of people in swimsuits. Their stay in the town’s historical centre seems undignified to us,” Carda said.

Similarly, Vyssi Brod Mayor Jan Zalesak suggests that the number of canoeists on the Vltava should start to be regulated.

However, the state-run Vltava River Basin Management does not plan any regulation.

“No legislative framework exists to enable this,” Zdenek Zidek, from the management, told Pravo.

Camp and boat park operators are extremely satisfied with the soaring number of canoeists.

Rescuers, for their part, intervene along the Vltava only rarely, and mostly in accidents involving foreigners.

Since the beginning of July, doctors in the Cesky Krumlov hospital have treated several Koreans who were drowning.

“Asians often disrespect the signs along the river and they have no experience with canoeing. They often want to go down a weir at a place where it is banned. As a result, we treat exotic canoeists suffering from exposure, who were close to drowning,” Pavel Hausdorf, a doctor from the hospital, is quoted as saying.

Rescuers confirm that Asians are totally unable to cope with canoeing.

Most boat parks offer foreigners to go down the river with an instructor, but they refuse the offer, probably for financial reasons, Cesky Krumlov rescue service chief Milan Bukacek said.

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