A heartbreaking tale: one girl’s search for her dad in the Beijing storm

Cam MacMurchy , July 24, 2012 9:11pm

We were fortunate down in the Pearl River Delta to have very few (if any) casualties from Typhoon Vicente, which crashed into our shores this week.  Beijing, which faced its own storm over the weekend, wasn’t nearly as lucky.

MissXQ, who has done excellent work on Twitter following the floods up north, has translated a heartbreaking tale of a girl in Beijing who chronicled her search for her dad on Sina Weibo after the deadly floods drowned parts of the city.

The girl, named @侯帅不是女金刚 on Weibo, lives in Fengtai District in Beijing.  Below is her story, told through her own posts on Sina Weibo as she frantically searched for her father and pleaded with others for help.

Her odyssey began on the afternoon of the rainstorm in Beijing.  She made her first post around 4:00pm on July 23:

“My dad went to Man Shui Qiao (in Beijing’s Shijingshan District) to go fishing before the rainstorm. He is still not home. My mom and I am really worried! Please repost and help us! His car is a silver Buick and the plate number is NOKJ06.”

Netizens in China helped her out by sharing her post 44,000 times.   At 4:30 pm on July 23, she posted to say her mom had called the police, who said someone reported her dad’s car had been washed away.

“The police said a car was washed away around the time my mom called my dad… that was their last conversation.  Please help repost, thank you!! This is my dad’s picture.”

5:09 pm, July 23:

“Can somebody tell me what number I can call to check if my dad’s name is on the casualty list?”

5:13 pm:

Some netizens posted to Weibo accusing @侯帅不是女金刚 of just wanting to seek attention by posting that her dad was missing.   In response, she said she wouldn’t curse her dad to become famous.

6:33 pm, @侯帅不是女金刚 posted:

“Can anyone help? We reported to the police and asked them to search for my dad’s car, but the police said they have to ask permission from their bosses, so we have to wait! What can I do? Please, please, please!”

Most netizens commented that she should ask her relatives and friends to help rather than wait for the “useless” police.

6:42 pm:

“Who can come to my house and help us search for my dad? Police aren’t bothering, I beg you all, please please please!  I am going nuts!”

6:48 pm:

“My mom, relatives and I will go out searching for my dad ourselves, please contact my number when I am not on Weibo! Thank you all!” She included her phone number in her post.

12:24 am, July 24:

“I just got back home. The TV station interviewed us. We went to the hospital and police station, but no result. Thanks for all your help. We are still waiting for the police to get permission from their bosses to start searching for my dad, and we are sure NOKJ06 is his car plate number. Thank you for your repost. I am not lying, really.”

1:36 am:

“Anyone know the big names in the city level police bureaus? Can you help to talk to them directly and speed up the process so we don’t need to wait for them to finally decide to search for my dad? My mom and I can not wait anymore, we are so worried.”

2:50 am:

“My mom is still awake. I cannot sleep either. I feel so bad.  I have prepared for the worst to come but I dare not think about it. I am so scared, so scared… I don’t want to lose my dad, I don’t want to lose my whole world.  But for my mom, I have to stay positive and I believe my dad is okay! He will be back and I will continue to search for him tomorrow. “

4:50 am:

“My mom fell asleep. I cannot. I am so worried. I am so afraid something will happen. Papa, please come back, I beg you, please!”

5:48 am:

“I’ve never thought this kind of thing will happen to me. I am really worried now. I don’t know what is waiting for me.  I prepared for the worst but I am so scared that we still don’t have any clue where my dad is. How much I hope this is just a nightmare and it will all go away when I wake up! Dad, please come home, me and my mom are waiting for you!”

8:05 am:

“Please don’t play with me anymore. Those people who sent me SMSs and told me they found my dad’s car, please don’t play with me anymore. When I got your message, I woke my mom up and called you back, but your phone is out of service. Please don’t play with me. I am so worried!”

9:22 am:

“At 10:48 pm on July 23, someone reported to the police that he saw a car being washed away. It was at the same time my mom spoke with my dad on the phone. But the police have not given us any update on when they will search for that car. The police told us they have to get permission from their boss to search for the car.  They won’t do anything before they get permission! But my mom and I are so worried! Does anyone have any good ideas?”

9:51 am:

“Can I curse? If my dad is a government official the police wouldn’t let us wait this long just to get permission!  We have been begging them all day and night, they still cannot get permission!!! My dad is in the car and the car is under the fucking water!!  I cannot fucking stand it! Can you save people’s lives first? Can you!!”

2:27 pm:

“Thank you all! My family has contacted the special rescue team. But all of them are in Fangshan and they have no people available to help us. I called the mayor’s hotline, but the only answer is wait. I called 110 (police) and the fire department, no one can help. All my family has no other choice but wait. We are all prepared for the worst. I don’t know what to do. The only thing we can do is wait for the rescue team to have some spare people to save my dad.”

3:25 pm:

“Now the Shijingshan, Fengtai and Mentougou police stations are trying to clear themselves out of this. We found the car plate. My uncle found someone to go under the water to search for it and picked it up. I am on the spot. All the police are trying to come clear of it. “

4:14 pm:

“Finally the rescue team has some time to search for my dad and his car.”

5:27 pm:

“This is my last Weibo update, I found my dad’s car, car plate, and his body…  I love you, dad.”