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April 20, 2010

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Man overboard survives 3-hour Huangpu ordeal

WET and cold, Qian Ping, a 28-year-old sailor, shivered in a little police stand in a shipyard early yesterday morning.

He'd just spent nearly three hours fighting to keep from drowning in the city's Huangpu River, swimming 2 kilometers upstream until he pulled himself out of the water.

"Luckily I am a good swimmer," Qian said.

Qian, who works on a foreign ship, returned from a few hours on shore to the yard where his ship is anchored for repair in Jinshan District about 12:30am.

But he was told by the yard officials to come back in another one-and-a-half hours because the yard was closed temporarily for repair work on the floating docks.

Eager to get back on his ship to sleep, Qian sneaked into the dock area but found the rope ladder to the ship had already been taken down.

Estimating the gap at one to two meters, Qian told police that he decided to jump over.

However, he slipped and fell into the water. The bank was too high to climb and Qian cried for help. Workers on the dock heard the call but didn't find Qian in the water because it was dark.

Police began investigating soon after the ship reported the missing sailor. Qian's struggle to survive began at the same time.

Unable to find a good place to land, he swam upstream for 2 kilometers before finally finding a low bank he could climb.

"The water temperature was not very low," Qian said. "I was able to rest myself after swimming for a while."

In soaked clothes, he took a taxi back to the shipyard where he met the officers who were searching for him.

Qiang was said to be "fine" after health checks and he continued his work on the ship, officers said.


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