Three men in Beijing were recognized as "Good Samaritans" by the government for saving the lives of three drowning children on Sunday, the capital's Shijingshan district civil affairs bureau announced on Tuesday.
The three men－Zhou Hongbo, Li Pu and Zhou Siwei－heard children shouting for help and saw them struggling in the waters of Mencheng Lake near the Yongding River in western Beijing's Shijingshan district at around 2 pm on Sunday.
The children－three from two families－had been playing near the water.
According to the district's announcement, many people participated in saving the kids.
Zhou Hongbo, born in 1990, father of a 1-year-old boy, leaped in to save the children but drowned afterward. A rescue team found his body after a four-hour search.
His wife, surnamed Tang, said Zhou, a Beijing resident in Yanqing district, was his family's only son.
"Our baby just learned to pronounce 'papa'," said Tang with tears.
The family were on their way home after taking nucleic acid tests when they encountered the accident.
"My husband gave me his cellphone and jumped into the water without taking off his clothes to save the children," she said. "I only knew that he could swim, but I didn't know how well he swam, so I tried to stop him, but he didn't listen."
Zhou's colleague Zhang Weimin, who was shocked to hear the sad news, said Zhou was an optimistic person and always helpful.
"We show our greatest respect to the brave behavior that has warmed the whole city," said the announcement of the Shijingshan district's government. "We also are deeply sorry for the loss. Those three brave fathers have brought back the future of three children and hopes of two families."
The civil affairs bureau will continue to investigate to identify and honor any other people who participated in the rescue.
In Beijing, all residents and organizations can apply for the Good Samaritan award through local civil affairs bureaus, according to the Beijing government. The civil affairs bureaus should reply within 90 work days. Those recognized will be given a certificate and subsidy.