Rallying to the rescue of fishermen

Updated: 2013-10-11 07:41

By Peng Yining in Hainan and He Na, Jiang Xueqing and Wu Wencong in Beijing (China Daily)

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All alone on the ocean

Editor's note: Lei Jie is a Peace Ark crew member.

I have participated in many rescue drills, but this was the first time I'd been involved in an actual mission.

The dead bodies were swollen and heavy. We tried everything to get them aboard.

At one point, I was sent to search a stranded fishing boat, which had been badly damaged and was lying on a coral reef. The entire hull had been smashed during the typhoon. The crew's clothing and belongings were floating in the water.

I climbed aboard, but didn't find anyone, which was a little disappointing, but also a big relief. I hoped to find survivors, but I didn't want to see anyone dead inside. I hope all the fishermen on that boat survived.

At one point when I was alone on the damaged boat, waiting for the helicopter to pick me up. The feeling of waiting in the middle of the ocean wasn't a good one.

During the search mission, I spent most of the time searching from the helicopter. We studied the locations where the ships sank and how the currents were flowing before we searched likely areas. Sunshine reflected off the water, which made the search difficult, and the hot, humid weather made the situation worse. We were all tired, but no one was willing to give up.

Lei Jie was talking to Peng Yining.