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Prosecutors probe Chinese tourist death

TAIPEI, Taiwan -- Taipei prosecutors are investigating the death of a Chinese tourist who fell off a balcony at the National Palace Museum on Friday, officials said yesterday.

Prosecutors have inspected the scene of the fall and completed an autopsy, but have yet to conclude whether it was an accident, suicide or foul play, officials said.

The tourist, a man surnamed Zhang, had been last seen taking pictures with fellow members of his tour group at the third-floor balcony on the left side of the museum's main building before his fall at about 3 p.m.

No one witnessed the fall, and the site was not covered by the museum's surveillance cameras, the officials said.

Prosecutors are trying to determine how the 171-centimeter-tall victim could have fallen off over the 97-centimeter-tall railing surrounding the balcony, the officials added.

The travel agency that had arranged the Taiwan tour for the Chinese group has already informed Zhang's family, and its members are expected to arrive soon to take care of the funeral and compensation matters, the Central News Agency said.

Taipei City emergency personnel said they received a report about the fall at 3:16 p.m. on Friday, adding that when they arrived at the scene Zhang showed no signs of life.

He was rushed to the hospital, where he was pronounced dead following an hourlong effort by doctors to resuscitate him, emergency personnel said.

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