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US expat who pulled woman from Huangpu businessman, swimmer

A FOREIGNER who jumped into the Huangpu River to save a woman in her 20s while jogging on the Bund on Monday afternoon was located today.

American expat Edward Poels, 51, was running along the Bund when he saw security officers rushing quickly toward the railings at around 3:10pm.

"I followed them to see what happened because something must be going on. I looked over the side and saw a woman drifting on the river," Poels told Shanghai Daily. "She was not struggling very much but she was barely able to stay above the water," he recalled.

Poels told the security officer he could swim and save the woman. He then took off his shoes and socks, jumped into the river, swam to the woman about 30 to 40 meters from the sightseeing terrace and brought her back to the rope ladder dropped by security guards.

"I was very touched that a Chinese gentleman also jumped into the river to help. He was not a strong swimmer but he helped me to get the woman to the ladder," Poels said.

After climbing up to the terrace, Poels laid the woman down, took some first-aid measures and checked her breathing. The woman was later sent to hospital in an ambulance.

Poels said he didn't know why and how the woman fell into the river. "I didn't see her go in and she wasn't speaking after she was saved," Poels said.

Poels said he knew it was dangerous to jump into the river but he didn't have a second thought since the woman needed help.

"I have been trained in life-saving and first aid and I'm a swimmer. So I had the skills and ability to save her and I was at the right place at the right time," Poels said.

Poels, owner of Hong Kong-based Fourwins Corporation, has lived in Shanghai since 2001. He married a Shanghai woman and has a daughter.

"I'm not a hero. I just did what I could do," Poels said. "Shanghai is my home. This could happen to my family, too, and I hope my wife and daughter would get help from others when they needed help."

Poels said he sincerely thanked people who were there to help him and handed a shirt to him when he came out of the water. He said none of his belongings was stolen when he jumped into the river, debunking rumors that his belongings were missing.

The woman, whose identity was not revealed, was picked up by her boyfriend, police said. The cause of her falling into the river remains unknown.


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