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Families mourn loss after the fatal storm

(China Daily)

08:56, July 30, 2012

Editor's note: The heaviest rainfall in 61 years lashed Beijing on July 21. It triggered flooding, landslides and other damage, causing 77 deaths, of which 38 were found in Fangshan district. There are many grieving families, still in shock.

Jia Xiaohan, 19, a university student from Fangshan district, had finished her first day at a new part-time summer job at 5 pm on July 21 and was on her way home in Xiapozi village with her stepmother and 10-year-old sister in their car when the storm hit Beijing, triggering flash floods.

As the water hit, she and her sister managed to get out of the car and climb up a small tree nearby before the floodwater swept away the car, with her stepmother inside.

But her sister later fell into the floodwater.

Jia called her father and other relatives for help about 7:30 pm, crying: "Dad, please help me."

A friend of her family's arrived at the scene in half an hour and heard her cries for help, but couldn't reach her due to the depth and speed of the floodwater.

A little later, she too was swept away, after the tree fell.

Her stepmother was rescued miles away, hours later, as was her sister, who was found on another tree 3 km away on the morning of July 22.

"She had told me to hold tight," said her sister.

More than 30 people searched for three days, in boats, and searching the river bank inch by inch, day and night.

They found her body on July 24.

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