They came in their droves, all hoping to catch a glimpse of what is considered to be one of Mother Nature's more unusual spectacles.
However, these spectators unwittingly became part of the show when a huge tidal bore burst through a dam and spilled over the riverbank, sweeping scores of tourists off their feet.
One moment these bystanders stood transfixed at the banks of the Qiantang River in Haining, in east China's Zhejiang province, waiting to witness the natural phenomenon. See more photos below:
The next they were running for their lives as a huge wave came crashing towards them, engulfing the crowds while others looked on helplessly.
While there were no fatalities, more than 20 people were injured after the wave swept through the throng, and some had to be be carried to receive medical attention.
The astonishing natural phenomenon, which is an abrupt uprising of river water, happens when the moon's gravity influence tides from the sea, moving them upstream, resulting in the mesmerising bore.
More than 20 people were injured by the rogue wave, with many needing to be carried away for treatment.
Despite the authorities warning onlookers to stand back from the river bank, many failed to heed the advice and ended up trying to out-run the wave when it headed towards them.
Bores only occur in a few locations throughout the world, usually in areas with a large tidal range and where incoming tides are funnelled into a shallow, narrowing lake or river.
China's Qiantang River boasts the largest bore, up nine metres - or 30 feet high - and travelling up to 25mph.