A two-year-old toddler was run over by two vans and mortally wounded, after which 18 people passed her indifferently in south China's Guangdong Province.
Thanks to the 19th passer-by, a woman garbage collector who came to her aid about seven minutes after the first hit, the girl didn't die immediately in last Thursday's incident. But doctors said the girl died yesterday from severe brain injuries she had suffered in the accident.
Police have detained both drivers.
After the surveillance video of the incident was put online yesterday, many netizens condemned the 18 passers-by who could have helped the girl avoid the second accident. The case was the latest to bring home the question of whether people today are too cold-blooded to help, or whether it's smart to stay away from an accident to avoid the chance of being accused of responsibility by the victim.
The girl, identified by her parents as Yueyue, was knocked down by a van about 5:30pm last Thursday, when walking alone in a hardware wholesaling market in the city of Foshan. The car driver stopped for a while after the front wheel rolled over the girl. But he sped away soon and the rear wheel crushed her again.
A witness walked around the girl lying on the narrow street without stopping, the surveillance camera showed. Then a biker and a pedestrian passed her but ignored the girl struggling in a pool of blood.
A second van driver, who didn't see the girl, crushed her again and fled the scene. After the second hit, Yueyue became motionless.
Over the ensuing five minutes, 15 people passed her and each of them just took a look. None stopped to lend a hand.
Then finally, about seven minutes after the girl was hit by the first van, the trash collector came to her aid. She rushed to help her sit up but Yueyue was paralyzed. So the woman moved her from the middle of the street to the side. She yelled for help and Yueyue's mother came and held her daughter in her arms.
Yueyue was rushed to the General Hospital of Guangzhou Military Command, where she remained in the intensive care unit until she died yesterday afternoon.
"She couldn't breathe on her own," said Wen Qiang, deputy director of the ICU department.
The incident is the latest example of passers-by acting indifferently to victims injured in crimes. In this case, some blamed the parents for letting the girl walk on the street alone. More criticized the phenomenon of people passing by without helping, caused at least in part by previous extortion attempts from the injured and their families who have sometimes tried to blame the person helping.
The notorious "Nanjing Peng Yu" incident is fresh in people's minds even after five years. In 2006, in Nanjing City in east China, a young man named Peng Yu who had just gotten off a bus went to aid a 65-year-old woman who was knocked down by a fellow passenger. The woman eventually sued Peng, claiming he was the one who knocked her down.
In September, an 88-year-old man lay helpless on a crowded avenue in Wuhan City in central China for about 90 minutes before someone took him to the hospital. The old man died from a nosebleed that blocked his airway, suffocating him.