Safety of Samaria examined

Tourists hiking through the Samaria Gorge may be given hard hats to protect them from falling rocks, authorities in Crete said yesterday, as a 14-year-old boy was recovering in the hospital after being injured while walking through one of the island’s main tourist attractions. Doctors in Hania said the unnamed Austrian teenager’s health was improving after he was struck on the head by a falling rock on Tuesday. Surgeons operated on the boy but said he was not yet out of danger. The teenager’s injury came two months after a Frenchman was killed after being hit by a falling rock at the same spot in the gorge. This prompted the head of the forestry service, which is responsible for looking after the national park in southwest Crete where the 18-kilometer-long gorge lies, to say safety measures may be adopted. Vassilis Kassotakis said authorities would look into diverting hikers past the section of the gorge where falling rocks have been reported. The forestry service is also examining the possibility of distributing hard hats to visitors.