After he witnessed a woman drowning in the Jin River in the city of Chengdu, Harald Göbel took matters into his own hands and jumped in himself.
“When I came out of the river there was thunderous applause and cheering,” Göbel told the Expressen newspaper.
Göbel, a 53-year-old resident of Gothenburg in western Sweden, was on a business trip to the central Chinese city when the incident occurred late last week.
“The fireman threw a life-buoy in the water, but it really didn't help. She was taken by the current under a bridge and through a tunnel,” he told the paper.
As the woman was dragged into the tunnel, a fireman jumped in after her, but Göbel analyzed the situation differently as crowds gathered.
“I ran to the other side of the tunnel, left my jacket with my friend, and jumped in.”
The Swede then swam ten metres to the woman, pulling her to land to the cheers of the crowd. The woman was promptly taken to hospital where she is currently recuperating.
“People were screaming ‘hero' when I came out of the water,” Göbel told Expressen.
But with screaming crowds and Chinese media lining up to interview him, the Swede remains humble and carried on life as usual.
“When I saw that the woman was being taken care of by the ambulance staff, I went back to the hotel with my friend, had a shower, and then relaxed in the hotel bar.”