By Shannon Najmabadi
Image credit: Xinhua.
Image via @abesauer.
According to the South China Morning Post, a two day city-wide search to find a 21 year old woman who fell down a drainage hole was abandoned yesterday in Changsha.
During a heavy rainstorm Friday night, Yang Lijun fell into an uncovered manhole obscured by at least 30 cm worth of water, according to the SCMP.
Failing to find Yang – who fell down a drainage hole filled with poisonous marsh gas – rescue teams ordered the withdrawal of their personnel on Sunday evening.
A friend who was with Yang when she fell received a voice message on her cell phone from Yang. In it, Yang is heard to say, “It is freezing here. Water is pouring all over me.” However, her friend’s five return calls to Yang went unanswered.
Yang’s friend alerted the police and the “Changsha government dispatched dozens of teams of police and firefighters in a joint search and rescue mission” that included officers opening and examining “all 45 manholes on the route between the one where the girl fell and Xiang River,” the destination of the city’s water drains.
Though 3,300 metres from the scene of the accident, the river was also searched by ships sent by the Changsha maritime safety administration.
While “police speculated the manhole lid was lifted by surging underground water caused by the heavy rain,” local authorities have come under fire as critics question “how a one-metre diameter manhole could have been left uncovered on the street”.
“One department carrying out its duty would [have saved] ten [thousand rescuers’] efforts,” said a commentary in the Yangtse Newspaper.
On Saturday night, about a hundred residents joined in a candlelit vigil and prayed for Yang’s safety.