90-year-old villager in China jumps into icy river to save toddler

PHOTO: Screengrab/Pear Video

Many people in Santai county, Southwest China's Sichuan province, have been moved by the recent story of a 90-year-old jumping into an icy river to save a 18-month-old toddler that has spread through word of mouth.

The boy was riding a bicycle in his home village of Hejiaqiao in Le'an town at about 4 pm last Wednesday (March 21) when he slipped into the river while still on the bike.

His grandmother, surnamed Yue, was terrified and shouted for help.

He Youyi, a 90-year-old villager, was about 100 meters from the site and rushed to the river.

"He jumped into the river from one grassy bank and carried my grandson on his shoulder. Several minutes later, a fellow villager arrived to take my grandson ashore," Yue said.

As the section of the riverbank was muddy, several villagers spent several minutes pulling He ashore.

When Yue visited He in his home on Saturday to show her gratitude, He simply said: "It would be worthwhile even if I had died saving the boy, for he is our future."

On Friday, Pan He, the son of He's daughter who lives in the county seat of Santai, heard of his grandfather's heroic deed and hurried to Hejiaqiao with his parents.

To their relief, He was fine.

He Xiuqiong, He's daughter, said her family was moved by what her father had done.

Despite his good health, He lives with Pan's uncle in the village and walks very slowly due to his advanced age, Pan said.

"We admire his courage to jump into the muddy river to save a boy," Pan said.