CANBERRA， Sept. 20 (Xinhua) -- Three men who became trapped in a crevice while climbing the iconic Australian tourist attraction Uluru have been safely brought back to solid ground following an 11-hour rescue mission， the Northern Territory authorities confirmed on Tuesday.
The Australian men， all aged 23， became stuck in a crevice on the 348 meter high rock formation at around midday on Monday before Northern Territory emergency services were able to climb into the crevice， rescue the men and abseil them to safety at around 3:30am.
The incident has resulted in renewed calls for tourists to abstain from climbing Uluru. Taking part in a walk up the massive sandstone rock formation is not illegal. However， traditional land owners appeal for visitors not to climb it as it holds special spiritual significance and crosses the sacred Dreamtime track.
One witness told Fairfax Media that the three men seemed to veer off the pathway and found themselves unable to re-join the path after becoming stuck.
"They actually got three quarters or even more down the face of the rock in the wrong spot，" Australian man David Rowe said.
"They got to the point where it's too step to do the final bit， but too hard to go up again."
There are designated tracks available to those who wish to climb the attraction， though many tourists choose to respect the wishes of the Indigenous land owners' wishes.
"There are signs there saying the local indigenous people would prefer you not (climb Uluru). I just think we're on their turf so if they don't want me to I'm quite happy not to do it，" Rowe said.
It's thought that over time， around 35 people have perished climbing the attraction， either from heat exhaustion， heart attack or from a fall.
The last incident involving tourists climbing the rock occurred in 2015.
Portugal's Rui Costa celebrates as he crosses the finish line at the end of the 16th stage of the 2013 Tour de France cycling race on Tuesday. Photo: AFP
Yellow jersey holder Chris Froome and rival Alberto Contador narrowly avoided disaster from a late crash during a dramatic finale to the 16th stage of the Tour de France won by Portuguese Rui Costa on Tuesday.
Movistar rider Costa soloed to victory in the undulating 168-kilometer ride from Vaison-la-Romaine to Gap after a late but timely attack on the final climb of the day Candido Ramirez World Cup Jersey , the 9.5-kilometer-long Col de Manse.
Costa, taking his second career stage win on the race, had been part of an earlier 26-man breakaway that went on to build a significant lead on the main peloton over the hilly terrain leading to Gap.
He quickly built a lead on four chasers who Andres Guardado World Cup Jersey , despite their efforts, came over the summit with a 45-second deficit on the Portuguese.
With 11.5 kilometers of downhill remaining, Costa's efforts before the summit paid off and he went on to cross the finish line 42 seconds ahead of Christophe Riblon Alfredo Talavera World Cup Jersey , Arnold Jeannesson, Jerome Coppel and German veteran Andreas Kloden.
Meantime Froome and Spanish rival Contador, who had tested the Briton with several attacks on the way to the Manse summit Yasser Corona Mexico Jersey , both escaped disaster after crashing on one of the tight corners on the descent.
Froome went off the road and had to put one foot on the ground to steady himself, while Contador came off his bike altogether.
With overall second-placed Bauke Mollema showing his class by slowing to allow Froome and Contador to catch up, they resumed racing and finished the stage together in a small group at just over 10 minutes behind Costa.
Team Sky leader Froome retained his 4-minute 14-second lead on Dutchman Mollema of Belkin with Saxo team leader Contador still in third place at 4:25.
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