Reservoir Discharge Washes Away Bride

September 24, 2007 Updated: September 24, 2007

On the afternoon of September 15, a bride from Luliang County, Yunnan Province was washed away by a flood resulting from the discharge of a reservoir from a river. As of the writing of this article, the bride is still missing.

According to's report, the bride Chen Yanxia and bridegroom He Qiaokun, and their friends went to the Aegean Sea Wedding Photo Studio on September 15 to shoot photos. The group went to Nanpan River Dadie section, a “must go” place for new couples shooting wedding pictures for outside scenes. At that time, the river path was dry. Chen, wearing her wedding dress, with photographer Meng Li holding a reflecting board and assisting her, went down to choose a proper spot. The groom, He Qiaokun, stood about 10 meters (32.8 ft) away from them.

As soon as they went down to do the photo shoot, the river rose instantly from the overflow of the reservoir. After a few seconds, before people could react, the water washed away the bride and photographer assisting her. Witnessing this, He Qiaokun jumped down attempting to rescue them, but he was quickly pulled out by others.

The scene in front of them shocked the couple's relatives. They called whatever numbers they could think of to seek help. Around 6 p.m., people were still looking for the two lost women along the riverbank. After getting the message that “somebody was washed away by a flood,” Guning Reservoir immediately closed the floodgate. Later, people brought a fishnet and put it in the river close to the power plant hoping to find the bodies of the photographer and the bride.

Around 10 a.m. the next morning, Meng Li's body was found, but there was no news of the bride Chen Yanxia. As of the evening of September 17, no evidence has been found anywhere along the more than 600 meter (0.37 miles) path of the river.

Guning Reservoir was four kilometers (2.5 miles) upriver of the Dadie section. The huge floodgate controls a reservoir behind the dam. Mr. Chen who was on duty said that according to the Flood Prevention Office's order, the floodgate was open to discharge extra water. He explained, “The waterline on September 15 already exceeded the warning waterline. The Flood Prevention Office was ordered to discharge water three times on the afternoon of September 15.”

When the reservoir discharges, the situation at the lower riverbank is unknown upriver at the dam. Chen said that the river path stretches more than 4 km (2.5 miles) surrounded by cliffs and trees. Due to the complex topography and little sign of human habitation, the dam side cannot control whether people hold events down the river. People being washed away has happened in the past as well. However, except for the county Flood Prevention Office's advocacy to remind people to stay away from the downriver of the Guning Reservoir floodgate, there are no other warnings.