Yangtze bus plunge: 'I wish I could have saved him'

Yangtze bus plunge: 'I wish I could have saved him'
Rescuers search on Monday for passengers who were aboard a bus that plunged into the Yangtze River in Chongqing.
PHOTO: China Daily/Asia News Network

On Thursday morning around 10 o'clock, Zhou Xiaobo was allowed to view the body of his father and confirmed his identity after the older man died in a bus that plunged into the Yangtze River in Chongqing's Wanzhou district on Sunday.

Since the crash, Zhou, 43, deputy leader of Wanzhou's Blue Sky Rescue Team, was among the first group to reach the site and begin salvage work.

He was soon notified by local police that his 76-year-old father, Zhou Daguan, had swiped his senior bus card on that bus.

"Since that moment, I knew that his chance of survival was very slim," he said earlier. "I am heartbroken, but I can't stop my rescue work. I hoped I could do something to find him."

Zhou Xiaobo (right), deputy leader of Wanzhou's Blue Sky Rescue Team, participates in rescue work on Monday.Photo: China Daily/Asia News Network

Bearing his grief, Zhou has been working around the clock at the crash site. He drove a boat to search for missing passengers, using sonar and underwater robots to locate the bus. He slept in a tent near the river for three nights.

Whenever he got a break, he repeatedly tried his father's cell phone, hoping for an answer.

Zhou said he and his father were close. The older man was a retired teacher who had taught at a rural primary school for four decades. After Zhou's mother died in February, he moved to live with his father to keep him company.

He recalled that on Sunday morning, his father wanted to see a flower exhibition at a park, so the son drove him to the bus station and left for a work meeting.

"I wish I could have saved him to tell him I love him very much," Zhou said.

13 dead, 2 missing after bus plunges in China's Yangtze River

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    A fight between the bus driver and an angry passenger caused the Chongqing bus to plunge into Yangtze River on Sunday, which left 13 people dead and 2 missing, said Chongqing police said on Friday morning.

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    A fight between the bus driver and an angry passenger caused the Chongqing bus to plunge into Yangtze River on Sunday, which left 13 people dead and 2 missing, said Chongqing police said on Friday morning.

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    Based on the black-box recording device from the bus and other evidence, a female passenger surnamed Liu, 48, missed her stop and asked the driver surnamed Ran, 43, to stop immediately.

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    Two people are still missing and the search is continuing. The bus had an estimated 15 passengers on board.

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    The vehicle swerved suddenly onto the wrong side of the road on the Second Yangtze River Bridge in the city's Wanzhou district, striking an oncoming sedan before breaking through a guardrail more than 50 meters above the water.

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    According to the Ministry of Emergency Management, the salvage work was especially difficult because of the small size of the bus, the depth of the water, limited visibility and shifting currents that impeded divers.

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    More than 70 rescue boats came to the scene, including three floating cranes with a total capacity of 125 metric tons. Eighteen professional divers are carrying out salvage operations, with another 20 divers serving as backups.

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    The bus was lifted out of water Wednesday night.

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    The bus was located 71 meters below the river's surface.​

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    All the windows of the bus were broken out, and it rested with its nose down at a 30-degree angle several meters from the face of an underwater cliff.

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