Chinese firefighters make improvised bridge, bamboo stretchers to help people after Luding earthquake
Published: Sep 08, 2022 12:48 AM
Rescuers transfer injured villagers evacuated from Wandong Village of Detuo Town, in Luding County, southwest China's Sichuan Province, Sept. 6, 2022.(Photo: Xinhua)

Rescuers transfer injured villagers evacuated from Wandong Village of Detuo Town, in Luding County, southwest China's Sichuan Province, Sept. 6, 2022.(Photo: Xinhua)


Cutting down trees, tying the tree logs with ropes or iron wires, laying the logs to make a bridge above the roaring river, and then carrying injured villagers with bamboo-made stretchers across the bridge while fast flowing torrents raged below them - this was the rescue scene after the Luding earthquake, and many Chinese have been moved, with some comparing it to efforts at the Luding Bridge during the Long March (1934-36).

Videos and photos of these brave firefighters walking above the roaring river have been listed as the most-viewed topics on several Chinese social media platforms since Tuesday, but the young firefighters told the Global Times that it's simply their duty to protect people. 

Some netizens commented that Chinese soldiers and police can always overcome difficulties, whether it was more than 80 years ago or if it is in the future. 

Ye Yang, a firefighter with Yajiang county forest fire brigade, talked to the Global Times on Wednesday. "Our ancestors seized Luding Bridge and saved the Red Army; we can never reach that height in peacetime. We can only protect our people through our own actions to ensure people live safely and peacefully in our prosperous country," Ye said.

Seizing Luding Bridge was a crucial event during the Long March in which Red Army soldiers clung to the iron chains of the Luding Bridge, whose planks had been removed. Despite intense machine-gun fire from Kuomintang troops on the other side, the Red Army soldiers finally seized the bridge.

Ye recalled the rescue mission, saying that he and his fellow firefighters rushed to the epicenter of Moxi township on Monday afternoon, about four hours after the 6.8-magnitude earthquake hit Luding county in Southwest China's Sichuan Province.

They needed to immediately transfer the seriously injured villagers from the nearby mountains, but the only bridge had collapsed. 

"We knew we had to rescue the injured villagers as fast as possible, so we decided to build a bridge," Ye said. 

The 70 firefighters were divided into two groups, with one to cut down trees and build the bridge and the other to cross the river with ropes to give first aid to injured villagers. 

They finally made a temporary bridge with tree logs, and used bamboo branches and trees to make stretchers and transferred all the seriously injured villagers to a safe place by midnight, Ye said.

Firefighters used the temporary bridge to transfer 300 local villagers. 

Liu Lei, a firefighter from Kangding forest fire brigade who helped to reinforce the bridge with more logs and iron wires on Tuesday, told the Global Times on Wednesday that his heart would beat so fast each time when firefighters stepped onto the bridge, and then slow to the normal speed after they safely arrived on the other side of the river. 

"it's our duty to protect people's lives and property, and I sense the value of my life when I think about those lives I saved," Liu said. 

As of Wednesday, the death toll in the Luding earthquake stood at 74, with 40 from the Garze Tibetan Autonomous Prefecture and 34 from Ya'an city. At least 270 people have been injured.