Man drowns in Weihe river forced flooding under eyes of tens of rescuers after trapped on small riverbed, waiting TWO hours in vain desperately for rescue


Chinese Society  Updated:Fri, Aug 2, 2013 08:46 AM   By Bernd Chang


Shaanxi man drowned in Weihe river forced flooding under eyes of tens of rescuers and hundreds of onlookers after trapped on small riverbed, waiting 2 hours in vain desperately for rescue.

June 20, 2013, a fishing man trapped on a small riverbed was finally swept away and drowned by rising Weihe River forced flooding after waiting 2 hours desperately for help, but the tens of rescuers near at hand offered no solution except wasting time looking on. 

The man Yang Jianguo from Baoji city, Shaanxi province in northern China, who had been trapped on a small riverbed of Weihe River after the government opened the sluice to discharge floodwater in upstream Baojixia Reservoir (also named Weihe Gorge Dam), could have been saved

  • if a helicopter had been sent for rescuing him;
  • or if a life boat had been mobilized to rescue him;
  • or if a rescuer wearing survival suit had dared to swim in the flood to reach him;
  • or if the government had made precautions and asked any citizen away from the river bank before they discharged the flood in the upstream Reservoir;
  • or if the government had decided to temporarily turn off the spillway when they heard someone was in danger because of the man-made flooding. 
  • or some ideas else that are welcome to suggest as afterthoughts....

But none of the above options were conducted.  

Actually the time left for rescuing him is long enough. The government opened the sluice of the Baojixia Reservoir to discharge the water at 14:30 June 20,2013 and rescuers reached to the area near him before 15:00, when Yang Jianguo was seen standing on a 3 square meters wide riverbed that remained out of surface of the flood.

Aside from the tens of rescuers, as many as 300 onlookers gathered on the nearest banks and downstream bridge thinking over a way to help the poor guy.

The rescuers tried to toss rope to Yang but it failed to reach him since Yang was several tens of meters away from the bridge.

It took the rising flood one hour to reach Yang Jianguo’s knees and another hour to reach his neck. At 16:55 when a swift current came, Yang finally could not hold to his position and was swept away, and a timber ladder placed under the downstream bridge could not hold him back.

His body was recovered 2 hours later in downstream 2 kilometers away from his first position.

According to New Beijing Daily citing local officials, a total of 8 people were trapped in the riverbed the same day, the other 7 were rescued within 20 minutes. All the other one and a half hours were used to think over and over ways to save Yang Jianguo.

The city's flood prevention center said they put out a notice that the Weihe Gorge Dam will accelerate its discharge rate on June 19. However, local residents said they never heard of the announcement.

The failed rescuing efforts, if there were any, of the firefighting brigade have drawn loud questioning from the public. Why so many rescuers could not save the life of the man trapped just meters away from them in such a long two hours' time.

The tragedy reveals that the government ignores the life of ordinary citizens, think some Chinese netizens. 

"The man should have been rescued if he was an official or a foreigner" commented one netizen.


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