Influencers 'Steal Boat' From Chinese Flood Rescuers For Online Clout
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A group of Chinese influencers allegedly stole a boat and used it to film videos for online clout while they were supposed to be being used to help rescue people from severe flooding in Henan Province.
The video below was filmed showing a dispute between rescue workers and the online wannabe celebrities:
The floods, which came after torrential rain about two weeks ago, have resulted in the deaths of at least 302 people, as well as about 114.27 billion yuan (£12.7bn) in economic losses, Reuters reports.
Now, some of the users of Douyin - which is essentially China's version of TikTok - have been accused of using the tragedy for their own online gain.
A video has emerged that shows an altercation between the rescue workers in Xinxiang - one of the worst hit areas - and the influencers, in which one accuses them (in Chinese) of stealing the rescue boat when he took a short lunch break.
Of course, he's working flat out to rescue people from the floods, but he has to eat, after all.
The rescuers then allegedly searched for the boat for about four hours, and when they found it the influencers said they were out looking for people to help.
However, in the video, one of the rescuers shouts: "It's crystal clear to everyone here that you weren't really trying to save people. You are scumbags!"
All the while the influencers are sitting in the boat, looking increasingly sheepish about their actions.
Local media reports that an investigation into the incident is underway after police were called to the scene.
China Youth Daily interviewed the head of the rescue team, who said that the boat was 'severely damaged' when it was returned.
He was also outraged that the boat had been taken at all, which he said was 'wasting' hours of time that the rescuers could have devoted to searching for survivors of the floods.
The leader said: "I've seen them and they've been here since the very first day of the floods, filming videos and doing livestreams."
Two accounts belonging to those believed to have been involved have now been suspended.
A deleted video on the platform showed off one of their 'rescue attempts', while one man said: "Live from Henan! You can see how deep the floodwater is here, but we are going to drive our boat to places where the water level is higher.
"We will save more people. Hang in there, Henan!"