British diplomat from Newcastle hailed a hero after diving into a river in China to save a drowning student

Video report by ITV News Correspondent Ben Chapman


A British diplomat, originally from Newcastle, has been hailed as a hero after he jumped into a river in China to rescue a drowning woman.

Stephen Ellison, the Chongqing Consul General, rescued the 24-year-old student from fast moving waters in a nearby village on Saturday.

Speaking to him this afternoon, he tells us it was 'nothing special' and he just did the right thing. He also told us "people keep asking me if it was cold...but they forget that I'm from Newcastle."

No-one knows how they're going to react but you could see she was in serious trouble...I didn't think, I just jumped in and hoped I could help...There was no thinking, it was just a case of trying to do the right thing, of trying to help.

Stephen Ellison

ITV Tyne Tees spoke to his mum, 83-year-old Annabell Ellison who lives in Prudhoe. She hadn't seen the footage of her son's heroic rescue until we showed it to her today. She says she's so proud, and that her late husband, Stephen's Dad, would be 'bursting with pride' if he was here today.

More than a million people across the world have seen the dramatic footage of the rescue with many paying tribute to him as a hero.

The UK embassy in China has also tweeted to say they're proud of him.


Watch the full report from our reporter Amy Lea: