Video Credit: AsiaWire
This viral video seen nearly 20 million times shows a digger driver refusing to help two women burning to death inside a car that rear-ended him while a distressed witness screams at him to do something.
The footage was captured on 16th July on the 4th Ring Road in China’s capital of Beijing, with both women, 31 and 34, later pronounced dead.
The video filmed by Mr Chen has been widely shared and caused widespread discussion online as well as in legal circles about the excavator driver surnamed Qi, 22, and his apparent inaction.
Pictures Credit: AsiaWire
In the video, Mr Chen, who parked outside of the motorway barrier, repeatedly tells Qi to move his digger forward and free the victims trapped inside.
Qi reportedly claimed his vehicle would not move, but the video also shows him continually calling the police instead of attempting to free the women from the wreckage of their car.
The smoking engine of the crashed SUV catches fire before long, with the blaze then engulfing the entire front end of the car as Mr Chen screams for the driver to take his fire extinguisher.
By the end of the video, he has climbed over the barrier onto the motorway with the help of his friends, but they are unable to put out the fire.
Mr Chen can be heard saying: “It’s too late. They’re gone.”
He told local media: “I parked outside of the crash barrier and saw the digger driver calling the police.
“The white SUV had film on its windows so I couldn’t see inside. The car was smoking at the time, but the fire hadn’t started.
“I asked the digger driver whether anyone was inside. He said yes, so I told him to help the them, but he ignored me and continued to make calls.
“I panicked and told him to drive his digger forward and pull the victims out of the car. He told me his vehicle couldn’t move.
“I offered to drive onto the motorway and tow his digger, but he ignored me.
“I really wanted to climb over, but I weigh over 200 jin (15 stone, 220 lbs) and just couldn’t manage.
“My friends arrived and helped me over the barrier with our fire extinguishers. Another driver also showed up with an extinguisher, so we had about three to four in total.
“We tried but couldn’t save them.”
Mr Chen claimed the digger driver never once took part in their rescue attempt.
Beijing police confirmed he was arrested for negligence, but questions have also been raised about whether his digger was allowed on the 4th Ring Road in the first place.
Zhu Wei, with the China University of Political Science and Law, told Chinese state media: “Traffic law states that the driver should immediately attempt a rescue before calling the police.
“We see in the video that the digger driver calls the police but does not rescue the victims in the first instance.
“He could have asked those around him for help. There was enough time for him to conduct a rescue.
“Many believe the first thing you should do in an accident is stop and call the police – this is incorrect.
“The first thing to do is check whether anyone is hurt. If yes, the law says you should help them first.
“It has also yet to be determined whether the digger driver breached any traffic laws resulting in the accident, which would see further punishment on top of his failing to help the two occupants.”
Beijing police are awaiting medical examination results which will determine whether the two women died in the crash, or whether they burned to death as a result of Qi’s apparent inaction.
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