Peng Yaocai had barely finished dragging the last of five people out of a flaming vehicle wreckage when it exploded ten seconds later.
Shortly after, police and ambulances arrived to tend to the victims.
Witnesses say that it had taken Peng, a 24-year-old Chinese naval sergeant, two minutes to move all passengers, including the driver, Cheng Jiping, his wife, and her parents and brother out of the wreckage.
According a report by Sina, a Chinese online news outlet, Cheng and his brother-in-law had tried in vain to open the doors until Peng arrived to help.
Without giving his name or contact information, Peng continued on his way along the Jiangxi Province highway where the accident had taken place, on Feb. 18. The police took his picture and made a report to their superiors before letting him go.
Peng was only identified by two villagers when the county government ordered a search.
Unfortunately, Cheng’s wife died on the way to the hospital, and Cheng’s face required dozens of stitches. But he is grateful to Peng. “Although my wife died, he saved the four of us. We won’t forget!”
The next day, reporters caught up with Peng Yaocai. “If I told you I wasn’t afraid, I would be a liar,” he said. “But if I didn’t step forward to help, those five people would have died.”