A British diplomat has been hailed as a hero in China after jumping into a river to save a woman from drowning while other bystanders gathered to film him.
Stephen Ellison, the newly appointed British Consul General in Chongqing, was visiting an ancient town on Saturday when another tourist accidentally fell into the water.
Mr Ellison, a 61-year-old champion triathlete, leapt into the river without a second thought to rescue the woman, who was already unconscious, according to the British Consulate-General in Chongqing.
Social media footage shows Stephen Ellison, the newly appointed British Consul General in Chongqing, leaping into a river to rescue a woman after she accidentally fell into the waterway
Mr Ellison has lived and worked in China for nine years and will be the new Consul General in Chongqing. He had worked as an engineer before joining the British Embassy in Beijing in 2014
Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab said today that he was ‘very proud of’ Mr Ellison for saving the stranger.
The incident took place on November 14 in the tourist town of Zhongshan in Chongqing, south-western China.
Social media footage shows a woman accidentally falling into a fast-flowing river while standing on the slippery shore.
Onlookers can be heard screaming upon witnessing the accident, but no one takes action to save her.
In the beginning, the woman struggles desperately while being pushed around by the strong currents. But shortly after, she starts to float in the river, seemingly motionless.
The trending video shows a woman accidentally falling into a fast-flowing river while standing on the slippery shore. The woman struggles desperately while being pushed by the currents
Mr Ellison is filmed grabbing the woman before dragging her towards safety with the help of a life buoy thrown down by onlookers. Chinese web users have hailed Mr Ellison’s bravery
The clip then shows a man jumping into the river from the bank and swims towards the woman.
He grabs her before dragging her towards safety with the help of a life buoy thrown down by onlookers.
The British Consulate-General in Chongqing confirmed on Monday that the Good Samaritan was Stephen Ellison, the next Consul General in Chongqing.
Mr Ellison pulled the woman onto the shore safely and gave her first aid with the help of bystanders, the diplomatic mission said in a social media release.
The woman soon resumed consciousness and started to breathe. She did not sustain major injuries, the post said.
The British Consulate-General in Chongqing has said via social media that the woman resumed consciousness and started to breathe shortly after being saved by Mr Ellison (right, in purple)
The video of the event has attracted hundreds of comments on China’s social media platforms, with most people lauding Mr Ellison for his courage.
State-run media outlets, such as Xinhua and the Global Times, also flocked to report about Mr Ellison’s brave action.
On Weibo, the Chinese equivalent to Twitter, one comment read: ‘Thank you, the British Consul General in Chongqing.’
Another person praised: ‘[He] is indeed very kind and very brave.’
A third, eagle-eyed viewer pointed out a detail: ‘[He] didn’t even have time to take off his watch before jumping down. Kudos.’
Mr Ellison, a former engineer, worked with Chinese peers for the first time in 1984 (pictured)
Some web users criticised the passersby who stood there and watched on.
One such commenter wrote: ‘[I am] furious. Most [people] were taking videos, and only a handful saved the person, and the first one was a foreigner.’
According to the British Consulate-General in Chongqing, Mr Ellison has lived and worked in China for nine years.
Born in Newcastle, Mandarin-speaking Mr Ellison had worked as an engineer for three decades before joining the Department for International Trade at the British Embassy in Beijing in 2014.
He loves sports and was the champion of his age group in the 2019 Beijing International Triathlon.
Mr Ellison’s actions earned praise from his boss back in the UK, Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab, who echoed the sentiments.
‘Very proud of Stephen Ellison, our new Consul General in Chongqing, China, for saving a student from drowning at the weekend,’ he tweeted.
‘His bravery and commitment demonstrates the very best of British diplomats around the world.’