Meet the Chinese swimmers who formed a river rescue squad

Team of 86 amateurs have rescued or retrieved 62 people from the water over the past nine years

PUBLISHED : Thursday, 16 November, 2017, 3:54pm
UPDATED : Thursday, 16 November, 2017, 4:12pm

A group of volunteer swimmers in northern China has won praise for helping the police with river rescues and raising public awareness of water safety.

The group operates in Shangqiu in Henan province, the news website Thepaper.cn reported.

The team also helps retrieve bodies from the water and on Sunday pulled a drowned person from a river, the report said. A search had been under way for the person killed for 17 hours, according to the article.

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There are now 86 amateur swimmers in the group and they have rescued or retrieved 62 people from the water over nine years.

“The motivation for us is to make use of our skills to save others,” team leader Huang Wei was quoted as saying.

The group started out with 13 people and its members now include civil servants, doctors and teachers.

The team not only serves Henan, but has also joined rescues in 10 other cities in Shandong and Anhui provinces.

It has also lifted goods out of the water as salvage worth over 7.7 million yuan (US$1.16 million), the article said.

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One member said retrieving their first drowned body from the water was a difficult experience, but they imagined they were bringing back the remains of a loved one in their family to help emphasise the importance of what they were doing.

The team has visited more than 1,100 schools and dispatched over a million leaflets to raise public awareness of water safety.