Monday, June 9, 2014

Dropping your cellphone into a toilet is unfortunate — but in China, it can be tragic

A young woman dropped her new phone into an open-pit toilet in Xinxiang city, Henan, and two people died after one attempted to retrieve it. The woman's husband was the first to jump into the knee-deep cesspool to try and find the $320 phone, but he started having difficulty breathing and fainted. His mother then jumped in after him, and the same fate befell her. Both died of suffocation, and more were injured when others followed in an attempt to save them. The young woman herself was the third to jump in, and also fell unconscious. Her father-in-law then called over neighbors, and when they arrived to help, he, too, jumped in, as did two neighbors who also fainted. "The smell was too strong. I lost consciousness before I could see anything," says one of the neighbors. Ultimately, villagers used a rope tied to rescuers who pulled all six people out of the pit; they say no more than five minutes had passed, but an ambulance took more than an hour to arrive. The woman who dropped the phone and one neighbor are still in intensive care. "Two lives have gone in five minutes and my cousin's wife is still in coma, leaving a partially-paralyzed old man and a 1-year-old son at home," said a relative.

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