At least two people has been reported dead and seven remained missing on Monday after families celebrating Lunar New Year were swept away in a sudden flood from China’s Yellow River.
Witnesses stated that the water level in the river rose by 1.8 meters (6 feet) in just six minutes, giving people little time to react.
Video of the tragedy circulated widely on social media as rescue workers kept looking for survivors after 10 people were saved by the local rescuers of those around them as torrents of water hit a group of people in what appeared to be a flash flood.
The Sanmenxia emergency response bureau warned people to “pay attention to personal safety over the holiday period,” issuing a video of safety guidelines for people drawn to water at picturesque tourism spots .
“The tourists had gathered at a spot one to two kilometers (.6 to 1.2 miles) away from the Yellow River Dam Scenic Area, a place often frequented by “internet celebrities.””It was the first day of the Lunar New Year, the weather was fine, and large numbers of people went there to enjoy themselves,” an eyewitness said.
The crowds had apparently ignored warning signs saying “Danger, deep water,” as someone had broken through a fence aimed at keeping people away from the river.”At around 4:10 p.m., the river suddenly rose, and people began to run towards the bank,” a report said.
“Some people were washed to the bank by the water, and the people on the bank used branches to pull up some people who fell into the water.” It was also added that the rescue teams took around 20 minutes to arrive at the scene.
However,local officials denied having released water from the dam, but said some overflow of water was part of “normal operations” ordered on a daily basis by the provincial authorities.
Six of those rescued had been discharged from hospital by Monday morning, while two were in stable condition in hospital.