Two people suffocated and several others were reportedly injured after a woman dropped her cell phone into a cesspool in Xinxiang City, Henan province, China.
According to the South China Morning Post, the woman's husband climbed down into the open-pit toilet to collect the phone, worth about $300. He reportedly lost consciousness inside the cesspit. The man's mother reportedly jumped in after her son, but she also fainted.
Neighbors were called for help after the owner of the phone tried to save her husband and mother-in-law. She also lost consciousness. Several other people were injured in an attempt to help the victims.
“The smell was too strong. I lost consciousness before I could see anything,” a neighbor told Dahe Daily, according to a SCMP translation.
Neighbors found a rope and used it to haul the people out. In total, six people ended up being pulled from the cesspool, which was reportedly filled knee-deep with waste.
The husband and his mother both had pulses when they were rescued, but died after it took medical responders more than an hour to arrive on the scene.
"Two lives have gone in five minutes and my cousin's wife is still in coma, leaving a partially-paralyzed old man and a one-year-old son at home." the husband's uncle said, according to Shanghaist. "What are we supposed to do?"
Correction: A previous version of the article stated that a victim was "overcome by the stench." This was not the case, according to an expert interviewed by Dahe Daily.