|People gather at the river’s bank where Hải drowned in the northern province of Thanh Hóa. — VNA/VNS Photo Duy Hưng|Viet Nam News
HÀ NỘI — Prime Minister Nguyễn Xuân Phúc on Saturday gave a certificate of merit for bravery to Hoàng Đức Hải, who died after saving a woman and her two children from drowning in the northern province of Thanh Hóa on Thursday.
Hải was a fourth-year student in a Hà Nội-based university. He returned to his hometown for Tết (Lunar New Year) holidays. The accident occurred when he saw the woman and her two children releasing carps into a local river on the Ông Công - Ông Táo (Land Genie and Kitchen Gods) day.
On the 23rd day of the last month of the year, Vietnamese families hold a send-off ceremony for the Ông Công - Ông Táo, the genies found in every Vietnamese home. It is believed that at New Year they ascend the Heaven to report on the good and bad deeds that happened in the house during the year. The carps serve as their means of transportation and therefore, must be healthy and looking well.
However, the woman and her children slipped then fell into the river after releasing the carps. Hải and his two friends immediately dove into the river to rescue the woman and children. After the woman and the children were saved, Hải was swept away due to exhaustion.
Prime Minister Phúc had also sent VNĐ20 million (US$880) to Hải’s family for the funeral.