A group of Chinese truckers sprang into action over the weekend to save their town after a local levee broke and threatened the homes and lives of 23,000 of their fellow citizens.
Heavy rains and flooding tore a huge hole in a levee in Huarong County, Hunan Province on Sunday. The water pouring through the hole, which measured over 30 feet across, threatened to inundate the Xinhua Flood Basin and destroy tens of thousands of homes. As flood control officials jumped into action to evacuate the people in the flood basin, local police began flagging down truckers and requesting their help with relief efforts. Facing an increasing flood of water, the local flood control officials made an emergency decision to block the hole with heavily-laden trucks until a more permanent solution could be engineered.
"We had no other choice at that time," said Zhang Zhihong, the director of Huarong County's flood control office. "We hoped there were large cranes, or helicopters, but there were not. The flood was turbulent and the gap was reaching 17 meters (55 feet) wide.
At the behest of the authorities, 13 truckers sacrificed their personal trucks to help control the flood waters. The trucks were loaded with stone and bricks and driven into the water near the breach. The drivers, who were tied to safety cables, jumped from their cabs at the last moment and were pulled to safety. Eventually, the flood was contained and by Tuesday morning the hole in the levee was plugged by more permanent means.