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Tourist dies in Santorini rockfall

- by Archimedes

Tourist dies in Santorini rockfall.

An American tourist has been killed by falling rocks on the holiday island of Santorini, according to reports. The 52-year-old is thought to have been riding a hired donkey down a steep cliff-side path when the accident happened. Four others were injured in the incident, two are believed to be the man's wife and daughter and two others are Mexican tourists.

Greek police says the rocks probably became dislodged from the towering cliffs above the cobbled path that winds down to the sea from Oia village -- a popular tourist destination on the brim of the island's steep trademark cliffs.

Many tourists arriving on cruise ships ride donkeys up and down the steep path from the old port to the village above as an alternative to using the cable car.

Santorini mayor, Anastasios Nikolaos Zorzos, said landslides like this were unusual on the island but said geologists would check the area as a safety precaution.

Cruise ship tourists are often pestered with offers of mule and donkey ride up a steep, zigzag staircase to the top of the towering cliffs, but most opt for the sedate Austrian-built cable car.

Very few people walk the 600 or so steps up to the town as the 250 metre staircase path is heart-stoppingly steep and walkers not only face being brushed aside by galloping mule teams but must negotiate copious donkey droppings on the way.

Despite protest from some at the heavyweight burdens the mules are forced to carry (notably obese Americans), the donkey rides prove very popular with visitors to holiday island of Santorini.