Uluru, NT. (Photo by Mark Kolbe/Getty Images for AOC)
Uluru, NT. (Photo by Mark Kolbe/Getty Images for AOC)

Tourist dies climbing Uluru

A JAPANESE  tourist has died while climbing Uluru yesterday afternoon.

The 66-year-old man collapsed on the Northern Territory monolith around 4pm while halfway up the monolith.

Bystanders performed CPR but were unable to revive him.

A helicopter was used to fly the man to the nearby Yulara clinic where he was pronounced dead, the ABC reported.

"A helicopter had to be used to retrieve this person and take him back to Yulara clinic, but unfortunately he passed away," Duty Superintendent Shaun Gill told the ABC.

The police officer said the man's death was not being considered suspicious.

The man is the 37th person to die on Uluru since it was open to tourists in the 1960s and after the first chain was embedded in the rock in 1966 to aid climbing.

The last person to die on the rock was in 2010.

In November last year, the Uluru-Kata Tjuta National Park Board voted unanimously on banning tourists from climbing Uluru, an activity that has long been considered disrespectful by the region's traditional owners.

At least 35 people have died climbing Uluru, most from heart attacks however the rock is also incredibly dangerous to climb especially after rainfall, which makes the face of Uluru extremely slippery.The 12-person Uluru-Kata Tjuta National Park board voted unanimously on the controversial topic, announcing the rock would be closed to climbers from October 26, 2019.

The symbolic date is the 34-year anniversary of the day the Uluru land title was handed back to its traditional owners, the Anangu people.

The two-year lull period was also set to allow tourists who booked trips to the Red Centre to complete the climb, if they choose to do so.

The chairman of the park board Sammy Wilson said today the Anangu people have felt threatened to keep it open to climbers, something fewer than 20 per cent of visitors now do.

"Over the years Anangu have felt a sense of intimidation as if someone is holding a gun to our heads to keep it open," he said, according to the Sydney Morning Herald.

"It is an extremely important place, not a theme park like Disneyland. If I travel to another country and there is a sacred site, an area of restricted access, I don't enter or climb it, I respect it. It is the same here for Anangu. We welcome tourists here. We are not stopping tourism, just this activity.

"Closing the climb is not something to feel upset about but a cause for celebration," he added.

A sign at the bottom of the rock has always implored visitors to reconsider their need to scale Uluru.

"We, the traditional Anangu owners have this to say," the sign reads.

"The climb is not prohibited but we ask you to respect our law and culture by not climbing Uluru. We have a responsibility to teach and safeguard visitors to our land. The climb can be dangerous. Too many people have died while attempting to climb Uluru," it reads.

From 2011-2015, the climb was closed 77 per cent of the time due to dangerous weather conditions or cultural reasons.

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