onsdag 18. november 2020

China river rescue diplomat Stephen Ellison 'fastest to get shoes off'

A British diplomat hailed a hero for diving into a river in China to save a drowning student has said he was just the "fastest" to get his shoes off. Stephen Ellison, 61, consul-general in Chongqing, was walking by a river in a nearby village when he saw the woman struggling in the deep water.

Mr Ellison said jumping into the water was a "split-second" decision after he was the first to get his shoes off. He told the BBC: "I'm just happy it was a great ending for everybody." Video footage filmed by onlookers show the 24-year-old student - who has not been named - struggling in the fast-moving current, before disappearing under a footbridge and emerging face down, apparently unconscious.

After slipping into the river on some rocks, the woman became "submerged for a little while" and then was "floating very lifeless on the water", the consul general, who takes part in triathlons, told BBC Breakfast. Mr Ellison, who is originally from Newcastle, said everything "happened very quickly" when he made the "split-second" decision to take his shoes off and jump, fully clothed, into the river to save her. "When I reached her and turned her over, she wasn't breathing, she was unconscious and I really was fearing the worst", he said of the rescue, which took place on Saturday morning.