Ghouls of Gren­fell

Chinese tour group stops to take pic­tures near site of tragedy that killed 80

Irish Daily Mail - - News - By Chris­tian Gysin news@dai­ly­mail.ie

CHINESE tourists have been branded ‘dis­gust­ing’ for tak­ing photos in front of the black­ened shell of Gren­fell Tower.

The lat­est ex­am­ple of ‘dis­as­ter tourism’ at the scene of the tragedy, in which around 80 died in June, came when a coach tour made an unau­tho­rised stop.

The tourists were spot­ted stream­ing out of the blue bus sup­plied by BM Coaches and tak­ing photos of the west Lon­don tower be­fore be­ing driven away.

Wit­ness John Gre­gory, who con­fronted the coach driver dur­ing the in­ci­dent on Wed­nes­day, said: ‘He said that they are health and safety ex­perts from China.

‘Surely there are enough pho­to­graphs on the in­ter­net of the tower that they don’t have to come in bus­loads to take photos of it?’

The tour guide re­spon­si­ble has been sent home to China in dis­grace and the driver of the coach sus­pended af­ter the visit was con­demned by an­gry lo­cals.

Moyra Sa­muels, of the Jus­tice4Gren­fell cam­paign, said: ‘If peo­ple want to use some­one else’s grief as a tourist at­trac­tion, what can we do?

‘It’s in­sen­si­tive and up­set­ting for the sur­vivors.

‘Hu­man be­ings are be­com­ing ex­tremely in­sen­si­tive.

‘This is not dis­as­ter porn and peo­ple need to de­velop a bit of re­spect. To­day we are bury­ing three peo­ple from the tragedy. Peo­ple need to re­mem­ber this is a com­mu­nity still griev­ing.’

Mean­while, the vis­i­tors’ be­hav­iour was de­scribed as ‘dis­gust­ing’ on a Face­book page ded­i­cated to vic­tims of the tragedy.

Siob­han Piner wrote: ‘I can­not un­der­stand the mor­bid­ity of want­ing a photo.

‘If you go there, it’s to pay your re­spects and re­flect on the tragedy, not to take photos.’

Adrian Palmer added: ‘It’s a site for ex­pe­ri­enc­ing the sheer ter­ror and need­less suf­fer­ing of so many peo­ple.

‘You only have to see the pic­tures of the chil­dren who lost their fu­tures to re­alise that it is to be treated with re­spect, not as a tourist at­trac­tion.’ In re­cent weeks Ja­panese tourists have also been seen vis­it­ing the area and us­ing Gren­fell Tower as a back­drop for pho­to­graphs.

Lo­cal res­i­dents have even re­sorted to putting up signs ask­ing mem­bers of the public not to pho­to­graph the re­mains of the build­ing.

One placed on a metal fence reads: ‘Stop tak­ing pic­tures please. Stop tak­ing self­ies. Not a tourist at­trac­tion.’

Dur­ing this year’s Not­ting Hill Car­ni­val, po­lice formed a pro­tec­tive ‘ring of care’ around the tower to en­sure rev­ellers showed ‘re­spect’ for the site in Kens­ing­ton.

Coach sup­plier BM Coaches, of Hayes, west Lon­don, con­firmed the stop at Gren­fell Tower was not an au­tho­rised part of a Lon­don tour itin­er­ary and has made a do­na­tion to the of­fi­cial Gren­fell Fund by way of an apol­ogy.

Op­er­a­tions di­rec­tor James Buck­ing­ham said: ‘I would like to apol­o­gise most sin­cerely… for the in­sen­si­tive ac­tions of the group we were con­tracted to sup­ply trans­porta­tion to.

‘The com­pany will take the strong­est pos­si­ble ac­tion against the driver in­volved.’

At least 80 peo­ple, in­clud­ing 18 chil­dren, per­ished in the blaze on June 14.

‘Up­set­ting for sur­vivors’

Dis­as­ter tourist: A vis­i­tor takes a selfie with Gren­fell Tower in the back­ground

Plea to stop: Sign put up by a res­i­dent

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