Two teenagers were tragically killed on Thursday afternoon when they jumped into a river in the Jiading District to save their schoolmate, surnamed Peng, who was reportedly attempting suicide over an exam that went badly.
Peng and five of her school friends, who were all students at Waigang Middle School, were walking on the bridge when she attempted to take her life, according to the Jiading District Education Bureau. They were not in school as they had just finished their final exam. The exam itself had influenced Peng’s decision to jump, according to Xinmin.cn. Three of her friends, Liu, Han and Wang, proceeded to jump in after her while the others called the police.
Shanghai Daily said that Peng was rescued by a community security guard and a deliveryman and survived the jump but the victims, Liu and Han were unable to be found. Wang managed to clamber back onto the bank herself.
The victims, who were both around 13, were thought to be weak swimmers and the police and firefighters later found their bodies. Ironically this terrible incident occurred only hours after children had been warned by local education authorities “not to risk their lives in the water trying to be good Samaritans”.
The warning for students not to jump in after others was “part of safety alerts issued ahead of the summer vacation which begin on July 1”. Zhu Jian, director of the city education commission’s youth protection department, explained that drowning is the biggest accidental killer for children in Shanghai and China, taking 21 children’s lives last year. This number excludes preschoolers and non-local children visiting Shanghai during the summer holidays so it is likely that the number is even higher.
By Sophie Regan