Role mod­els feted for putting their lives on the line

China Daily (Hong Kong) - - CHINA - By ZHANG YANGFEI zhangyangfei@chi­nadaily.com.cn

A group of 17 peo­ple, in­clud­ing three naval tech­nol­ogy ex­perts who died while try­ing to save an ex­per­i­men­tal float­ing plat­form as ty­phoon Rumbia hit Dalian, Liaon­ing prov­ince, on Aug 20, were awarded the ti­tle of “role mod­els of our time” on Fri­day.

The ti­tle was given by the Pub­lic­ity Depart­ment of the Com­mu­nist Party of China Cen­tral Com­mit­tee.

The ex­per­i­men­tal plat­form, a core piece of equipment for China’s naval sci­en­tific re­search and war­ship tech­nolo­gies de­vel­op­ment, be­longs to the No 760 In­sti­tute of China Ship­build­ing In­dus­try Cor­po­ra­tion, where the group works.

The CSIC held a minute’s silence on Aug 21 for the three de­ceased — Huang Qun, Song Yue­cai and Jiang Kaibin — and called on its staff to learn from their brav­ery, sense of re­spon­si­bil­ity and fear­less­ness of sac­ri­fice.

On Aug 26, Pres­i­dent Xi Jin­ping praised the three and said their brave deeds ex­pressed the out­stand­ing char­ac­ters of Party mem­bers: loy­alty to the Party, sense of re­spon­si­bil­ity and fear­less­ness when fac­ing sac­ri­fice.

Xi said they had ful­filled their vows of be­ing “ready to sac­ri­fice for the Party and the peo­ple” with their lives, and they are out­stand­ing rep­re­sen­ta­tives of the Party and role mod­els of our time.

On Aug 20, ca­bles on the plat­form snapped due to heavy rain and big gales brought by the ty­phoon, and the plat­form swayed pre­car­i­ously with the huge waves, threat­en­ing the lives of four se­cu­rity staff on­board.

Huang Qun, the in­sti­tute’s deputy di­rec­tor, Song Yue­cai, chief sci­en­tist of the ex­per­i­men­tal pro­gram, and Jiang Kaibin, chief electro­mechan­i­cal en­gi­neer, put on life jack­ets, car­ried backup ca­bles on their shoul­der and rushed to the pier, fol­lowed by nine other staff.

The dis­tance was no more than 100 me­ters, but it took them over 10 min­utes to reach the pier. The rain and sea­wa­ter that kept slam­ming their faces cut like a knife, and they had to tie one an­other to a ca­ble to pre­vent them­selves from be­ing swept away by the waves.

They started fas­ten­ing the ropes and sta­bi­liz­ing the ca­bles as soon as they reached the dock. Knocked down by the waves oc­ca­sion­ally, they scram­bled up on their feet and con­tin­ued work­ing.

These were no young men. Huang was 51, Song and Jiang were 61. Their en­ergy might have failed them but they only cared about the lives of their col­leagues and the safety of the cru­cial equipment.

The plat­form be­came stead­ier and the life-threat­en­ing danger dwin­dled when ca­bles were fas­tened. Just when ev­ery­thing be­gan to ap­pear un­der con­trol, Huang and Jiang, who were at the edge of the dock, were swept into the roar­ing wa­ter.

It was about a 3-me­ter fall from the dock. Huang and Jiang were pushed back and forth by the waves be­tween the con­crete wall of the dock and the steel of the plat­form. Other staff threw ropes into the sea try­ing to pull them up but failed.

A tech­ni­cian named Huang Chaofu then jumped straight into the wa­ter try­ing to reach Jiang, but huge waves kept them apart, and worse, knocked three more peo­ple from the dock.

To pre­vent more peo­ple from fall­ing into the sea, Song urged the rest to evac­u­ate im­me­di­ately and call for sup­port.

He was the last to leave to make sure the safety of oth­ers, and was over­whelmed by an­other wave.

Mean­while, the four on­board the plat­form never stopped their res­cue work. They man­aged to pull Huang Chaofu up, and to­gether they res­cued an­other two — Jia Lingjun and Dong Jiang. An­other tech­ni­cian, Yan Kun, jumped into the sea with a life buoy and saved one col­league, Sun Xun.

Res­cue teams came to help and man­aged to pull Huang, Song and Jiang from the wa­ter, but medics could not bring them back to life.

LI HE / XIN­HUA

Pho­tos of the group of 17 peo­ple from the No 760 In­sti­tute of China Ship­build­ing In­dus­try Cor­po­ra­tion are in­tro­duced by an an­chor at China Cen­tral Tele­vi­sion.

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