Crewman Trapped 40 Hours Underwater; Rescue Called Miraculous

January 18, 2006 Updated: January 18, 2006

Mingpao News reports that a boat sank to the bottom of China's Yangtze River on Jan. 10, yet 40 hours after sinking, one crewmember was safely rescued by the Maritime Safety Administration in Zhengjiang, Jiangsu Province. Zhengjiang City's Maritime Safety Administration Transportation Center received an emergency call at 7:22 p.m. on Jan. 10.

Two ships, one from the China Changjiang Shipping Group and One Dragon Shipping Corp.'s Xinhang No. 68, collided on the Yangtze River near Jianbi. Three smaller boats in tow also sank and two people were missing. The Center's duty staff responded in six patrol ships and searched for the missing.

By 10:40 the next morning, they were able to successfully refloat one of the sunken ships. A faint cry for help was heard so the rescuers made a rapid inspection. When they saw a hand waving in a cabin, they immediately took out tools and cut the cabin open, rescuing one of the missing crew.

Mr. Guo, the rescued crewman, had been thrown into the cabin by the force of the collision and remained trapped there as the vessel sank 46 feet to the bottom. He was able to survive since some air had also been trapped in the cabin. The salvage company manager, Mr.Xiong Jinshan, stated after the rescue, “I've been working for the company for over 40 years. This is the first time I've ever witnessed such a rescue. It is really miraculous.”