CHINA-A young firefighter in China lost his life while attempting to save a woman from jumping off the roof of a building.
The tragic incident occurred on Friday (Nov 12), in Bozhou city located in China’s Anhui province.
Video footage captured of the incident showed a woman standing on the rooftop and a fireman in bright orange overalls appearing to close in from behind her.
However, as the woman made a sudden move, the fireman lunged from behind to grab her, but the pair end up falling off the roof and plunging to the ground.
According to reports, the woman died in the hospital after emergency treatment failed, while the 24-year-old firefighter died hours later.
The woman, aged about 50, had been up on the rooftop of the four-storey building for several hours that morning and the police received a call at 10.12am.
An official statement from Mengcheng county police on Weibo stated that upon arriving at the scene, the woman appeared to be emotionally agitated and did not respond to advice by police and firefighters deployed to the scene.
The notice read: “The woman suddenly jumped off the roof and a firefighter moved forward to try to save her. In the process, the pair fell.”
An eyewitness said that the woman remained silent throughout the nearly hour-long standoff, ignoring rescue personnel.
He added that as there was construction work happening on the rooftop at the time, workers did not notice the suicidal woman and assumed that she was also one of the workers.
The eyewitness also observed that firefighters had laid out an air cushion on the ground but as the woman kept changing her position, they could not predict where she would jump and were unable to move the safety device in time.
Based on the eyewitness’ report and video footage, the firefighter who fell was attached to a safety line, but it is not clear what happened.
Reports noted that the firefighter had held on to the woman even as they plummeted to the ground.
Following the incident, many on social media hailed the Anhui native a hero and paid tribute to the young firefighter.
One Weibo user created an art piece to commemorate his selfless act, and wrote: “Were you scared when you fell? If you were scared, why didn’t you let go?”
Posts from Weibo also showed groups of people coming together to conduct a candlelight vigil to honour his sacrifice.
The firefighter, Chen Jian Jun, was the sole breadwinner of the family, and leaves behind his parents and a younger sister around 10 years of age.
Chen’s body was taken to a funeral home on Nov 13, where his distraught family were waiting. When interviewed, an employee told reporters that Chen’s girlfriend had arrived in the evening and insisted on keeping vigil but was eventually persuaded to leave.
Expressing sorrow over Chen’s death, the employee added: “I heard he was going to quit his job in three months to return home and get married.”