At least 11 people are missing with 22 rescued after a swiftly rising tide swept 30 people out to sea in east China's Zhejiang Province on Thursday.
The tide overtook tourists and locals at around 4pm in the inner part of the Qiantang River mouth, revealed s Zheng Yiren, an official with the Hangzhou Maritime Affairs Bureau.
Rescue workers stated that those swept into the water had been swimming or walking on the nearby levee in Qibao, Xiasha District, around 20 kilometers southeast of from downtown Hangzhou, the provincial seat.
Two of the missing have been named as 15-year-old Liu Tao from southwest China's Chongqing Municipality and 21-year-old Yu Xiaoyao, a student from Shaanxi Normal University.
Zhang Jinping, a 37-year-old migrant worker from Chongqing, told the press that he arrived at the site at 3.40pm but only swam five minutes before the tide rolled in.
With his back to the sea, he had no time to react and was swept out around 500 metres before latching on to a conveyor belt on a dredging machine in the river and swam back to safety.
Zhang said he dragged an unconscious woman from the water as he arrived on shore, but Liu Tao, his cousin’s son, was swept away and is still missing.
The Qiantang River was responsible for another similar incident on Oct. 3, 1993 when the tidewater swept away 86 people from the levees, leaving 19 dead, 40 missing and 27 injured.
Three vessels are mounting a full search-and-rescue mission in the vicinity.
(Xinhua News Agency, Chinanews.com.cn August 3, 2007)