CHANGSHA, July 12 (Xinhua) -- A driver steered his truck to the breached dike, opened the door and jumped out, then watched the vehicle as it sunk into the water.
Liu Sheng, 27, was one of 12 truck drivers who volunteered to help close a breached dike in central China's Hunan Province.
A breach in the Xinhua flood detention basin in Huarong County, Hunan occurred Sunday. More than 20,000 residents were evacuated.
Liu belonged to a WeChat group along with other truck drivers in Huarong County. He saw group members chatting on the messenger app about helping with the closure, and decided to join the efforts.
When Liu arrived at the site, he was told that he would have to use both rocks and his truck to plug the 47-meter gap.
"Rocks are too small and can be easily washed away by the flood," he said. "So they told me that filling the gap with big vehicles could help stop it from widening further."
Although the father of two wasn't prepared to lose his truck when he decided to volunteer, he soon agreed.
He stepped on the gas pedal then abandoned the truck while it was about two meters from the gap.
The strategy worked. The drivers, along with 2,000 others, including soldiers and police officers, had fixed the gap as of 8:15 a.m. Tuesday.
Liu admitted he was a little scared of the task and sad about his truck, which he bought late last year.
"I bought the truck with about 300,000 yuan (about 44,866 U.S. dollars) and I didn't want to lose it," said another driver, Liu Kang. Seeing its lights turn dim in the water, he struggled to hold back his tears.
They know they will receive compensation. The command center for closing the breach had them register their trucks and took photos for them. But life will be different without their vehicles.
Hunan is on high alert for flooding as precipitation in some areas hit record highs over the weekend.
"I will work with others for disaster relief first," said Liu Sheng, while Liu Kang told Xinhua that he plans to help his parents with farming.
Cheng Jixian, a third driver, had a wish: "If only I could retrieve the logo from my truck," he said.