[ W W W 5 V o l u n t e e r s ]

The River Seine Incident

As the press report on the river Seine incident was slightly misleading, one of the rescuers, Gurbir Singh has provided a personal report (via Internet Archive Wayback Machine):

At around 10:30 p.m. on Sunday evening on our way to have dinner Julianne Orsino, a fellow volunteer, and I saw a young girl climb over the safety rail on Pont de Neuilly and jump as we approached. While I was running down the rather long way to the Seine, Julianne sought the emergency services.

By the time I got down to the bank the girl had been in the water for around four minutes already and was struggling to stay afloat. About four meters from the bank she appeared weak and began to sink, so I jumped in and pulled her out.

The girl, who was under stress but clearly conscious, was taken to the hospital and is expected to fully recover. Julianne and I then gave a statement on the incident to the police.

In addition to getting my age, room number and date of arrival wrong, the press report incorrectly referred to me as a hero. Not so.

This is not modesty or "humbleness" on my part but simply a correction. I am not a strong swimmer but I can handle eight meters. As the water was neither extremely cold nor shark infested my life was never in danger. I was afraid of heights and water before the incident, and I still am after it. The stereotypical journalistic response misses the essence of the story, at the heart of which lies a sad and potentially tragic life, something from which we can all learn rather than celebrate.

Julianne's swift action in seeking the emergency medical support appeared to be ignored in the report. Just because I got wet and she did not, there is no reason for her part in this rescue to be overlooked.

I attended the conference with the intention of developing my understanding of the WWW and discovering Paris. I came back learning a little more about myself and some of you.

In the last few days of the conference, several of you expressed the uncertainty you thought you would feel had you been in my shoes on the bridge that evening. It is not often I feel so confident in knowing the answer as I am in this case. As a bearer of a blue T-shirt, you always help out when asked. When necessary you don't wait to be asked, you simply volunteer.

Your suggestions and additions on the WWW5 Volunteers web site are most welcome.

The official conference logo does not imply an endorsement of the WWW5 Volunteers web site by the conference organizers, or the IW3C2.
All information herein is provided by the volunteers of the Fifth World Wide Web Conference.