Age just a number for elderly rescue team

People often see rescue workers as young and strong men, because they often work in perilous situations. Few believe that someone can rush into danger when they enter retirement age.

Age just a number for elderly rescue team
Duong Van Loi provides first aid for a victim rescued from the water. — Photo

However, a rescue team made up of seven old men exists in Tan Trung Commune in the Cuu Long (Mekong) Delta province of An Giang.

They often save people who face difficulties or are involved in accidents along the Vam Nao River.

The Vam Nao River is about 6.5km in length, full of obstacles and treacherous parts. It is an intersection of the Tien and Hau rivers. There are strong currents and whirlpools where the three rivers meet, meaning many boats have floundered in the area and a number of people have died.

All seven members of the rescue team are around 70 years old.

Duong Van Loi, 68, head of the team, told the Tiền phong (Vanguard) newspaper that most accidents happen at night. The victims were usually strangers to the area who were unaware of the dangerous waters.


The senior rescuers pooled their money to buy a boat and lifejackets. The team often goes on patrol up and down the river. On hearing a call for help, they’re ready to jump in.

When there is an accident, Loi acts as the leader and assigns the duties for each member. One throws the lifebuoy, one jumps into the river to grab hold of the victim whereas the others help pulling them back into the boat.

After bringing the victim on board, Loi gives them first aid if necessary and contacts their family.

Duong Van Tich, 70, a member of the rescue team said they refuse payment for their work.

More than 10 years ago, they saved a woman and her son. The mother tried to give them VND200,000 (US$8.7), but they refused. Tich’s granddaughter ended up marrying the boy, meaning the incident had a happy ending and the elderly rescuer gained a grandson.


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