A British diplomat has been dubbed a “hero” for pulling a woman from an overflowing river.
Brave Stephen Ellison rescued a drowning student in China after she slipped on rocks into deep water.
The 61-year-old is the consul-general in the city of Chongqing and was walking by a river in a nearby village when he sprung into action.
Footage filmed by shocked onlookers shows the student struggle in the fast-moving current before disappearing under a footbridge and emerging face down, apparently unconscious.
Mr Ellison took off his shoes and dived in to save her during the dramatic incident on Saturday morning. She has not been named.
He turned the student over, lifted her face clear of the water and swam backwards with her to the steep riverbank.
Mr Ellison said: “She was unconscious, she was not breathing and for a short time we feared the worst. But as we got back to the side, she started breathing again.”
The diplomat clung onto a lifebuoy attached to a rope that had been thrown towards him by passers-by, who then pulled the woman to safety.
Mr Ellison then climbed out before being given clothes and warm drinks by grateful villagers.
He said the 24-year-old student, who is from Wuhan and attends Chongqing University, was shaken by the experience and is recovering slowly.
But she was extremely grateful and invited her saviour to dinner with her family next weekend.
Mr Ellison is originally from Newcastle and is head of the British mission in Chongqing, where his role is to support bilateral trade links between Britain and China.
The British embassy in China 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.”