A 24-year-old college girl died on Thursday while trying to save a drowning boy in her hometown city of Guangyuan in southwest China’s Sichuan Province.
Xie Xiaoli, a senior student at the Shandong University of Science and Technology, was walking near a pond That morning when she saw a teenage boy fallen into the water.
Xie rushed to the bank and tried to reach for the drowning boy, but she too slipped down the mossy slope and into the pond.
According to the only witness, a 12-year-old girl who was fishing with the boy, Xie and the boy struggled for some time in the frigid waters.
The witness said she was too scared to call for help. Instead, she hid in the pond-side bush.
Around 17:30, villagers found the body of Xie floating on the pond.
“She still had her glasses on (when we found her),” said Xie Qinghua, the elder sister of Xie, on Sunday. “When my dad lifted my sister ashore and tried to bring her back using artificial respiration, I noticed her lips were already purple and lifeless.”
The drowned boy, who was retrieved by firefighters in the evening, was pronounced dead on the spot.
The death of Xie has plunged the family into misery. Her mother had a nervous breakdown and even fainted at one point.
“I haven’t taken any food since the day I lost my daughter. I miss her every day. I barely slept during the past two days. It is a loss I can never get over,” said Zhao Wenbi, Xie’s mother.
Xie Xiaoli had been admitted into a graduate program at her university before she returned home for the Chinese New Year.
Her boyfriend Wang Kai, who had planned to visit Xie’s family during the Spring Festival holidays, drove to his girlfriend’s hometown ahead of schedule, after learning the sad news.
The two had planned to get married within two years.