Random rescuers rally to free family of 3 trapped in SUV in Zhengzhou floods

Chen Jie Sun Jiayi
Grandma and two kids saved just in time thanks to a WeChat Moments appeal, selfless volunteers and a big hammer.
Chen Jie Sun Jiayi

A video on Chinese social media shows a small community rallying in a last-minute rescue of two children and an adult from a trapped SUV in flood waters in Zhengzhou last week.

The kids' mom, Yang Xiaojie, told Shanghai Observer that their grandmother was driving the children home from kindergarten last Tuesday when her car got trapped in the floods and they couldn't open the door to get out. 

The grandma called Yang but at the time all emergency phone lines were busy.

"As a daughter and a mother, I had to keep calm," Yang said. She searched online, and found the number of a convenience store near the location where the three were trapped. And she also appealed for help on WeChat Moments.

Lu Lianmeng, the convenience store owner, was not in his store at the time but he called a hotel next door to his shop and requested help. Hotel security guard Li Kunpeng and Wang Zhilei rushed to the trapped car with a kitchen knife. Li was the first to climb on the car.

Chen Yangyang, the children's Hip Hop dance teacher, also happened to be close to the location. After seeing the WeChat help message sent by the kids' mother, he took off his clothes and swam to their vehicle.

However, the small tools they had were not suitable to break the vehicle's windows. Li Xiang, an owner of a nearby noodle shop, brought a big hammer to the scene. Helpers broke the windows with the hammer and pulled the children out of the car.

More people came to help, bringing a big container to transfer the kids to safety. The grandma was pulled out last after gathering her bags.

Videographer Zhao Peng said "When I saw several helpers surrounding the kids in the container and someone using an umbrella to shelter them, I thought it was like an island in the deluge. An island full of hope and power."

Yang expressed appreciation to all helpers who reached out to her family. 

"A Shanghai brother has been taking care of the children, and my mother went there to clean-up, which was very caring," Yang recalled.

"It was also my mother's calmness that helped the rescue. She didn't show any panic when she called me, telling me instead not to be worried," Yang said.

The grandma told the children that they were playing an adventure game to comfort them when they were trapped in the car, a strategy which guaranteed a smooth rescue.

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