What do you do when the flood waters are rising and help is far away? Some clever mainland policemen have found the answer in a toy store.
After heavy rains hit a low-lying neighbourhood in the city of Liuyang, Hunan province at the beginning of this month, 13 people found themselves trapped in their homes.
The speed at which the waters rose created a potentially life-threatening situation, and police in Changsha, the Hunan capital, which administers Liuyang, knew they had to act fast and get the residents to safety.
“It was an emergency,” read a statement on their Weibo microblog. “There weren’t any boats available, so we had to improvise.”
They found the answer in a local toy shop, in the form of a bright green inflatable turtle.
While the rescue vessel was far from conventional, it was more than fit for purpose, and just two hours after it floated into service all 13 trapped residents, including several elderly people and children, had been evacuated.
“Sorry for our vessel being ... too cute,” police said. “But, most importantly, the people are all safe.”
The story was an instant hit on social media, with many people posting messages of praise for the officers involved.
Other said the images of the people being rescued brought to mind a passage from the classic Chinese novel Journey to the West, in which a central character and his disciples are carried across a river on the back of a turtle.