British diplomat who saved drowning Chinese woman given velvet banner

Namita Singh
·2 min read
 (via REUTERS)

A British diplomat who rescued a woman from drowning in a river in China has now been presented with a red velvet banner as an expression of gratitude.

Stephen Ellison, the consul-general in Chongqing, was hailed as a hero after he leapt into action to save a 24-year-old university student who had slipped on a rock before falling into a river coursing through the town of Zhongshan.

The woman he saved has now presented him with the banner, which reads: "Righteous and courageous, saving people from water.”

"This is the first banner I have ever received in my life, it is of great significance to me," Mr Ellison said, according to a post by the British Consulate-General Chongqing on China's micro-blogging site Weibo on Friday.

Video of the incident posted on Twitter by the British embassy shows a crowd of people screaming in panic after the woman was spotted face-down in water. Mr Ellison, the head of the British mission in Chongqing, could be seen jumping in fully clothed.

“There was not a lot of time to do anything other than to get in," Mr Ellison had told the BBC.

After he got a hold of the woman in the river, an onlooker tosses a floatation device into the water. Mr Ellison then carried the woman to the lifebelt, and people pulled the pair to the riverbank.

Sharing the clip of the video, the British embassy tweeted: “We are all immensely proud of our Chongqing Consul General, Stephen Ellison, who dived into a river on Saturday to rescue a drowning student and swim her to safety.”