A 73-year-old woman surnamed Zhang survived for more than one hour, floating in the freezing cold water of the Yilan River in Taiwan's Yilan County on Wednesday, the local media reports.
A local resident saw her and reported a "floating corpse" to the firemen, who later came but were surprised to see her blinking and holding up one hand.
Her survival is "really a miracle," a fireman was quoted as saying, as the temperature was only 5 or 6 degrees Celsius at the time.
According to the firemen, Zhang was frozen stiff after falling into the river, which prevented her from struggling, and her clothes were inflated by the current. This helped her to float on the water without sinking.
Zhang was then sent to the hospital.
According to the doctor, her body temperature had fallen to 3.5 degrees Celsius. After being given first aid, Zhang was out of danger for the time being. She is now in the intensive care unit for possible pneumonia.
It is important to relax your body and keep your head out of the water to prevent drowning, according to the doctor and rescue workers.
(CRI January 28, 2008)