Firefighters’ invention PET bottle float saves man’s life

A man in his 60’s was rescued after falling in a river in Naha, after he managed to grab a float made of PET bottles that a passerby who saw the accident managed to throw him.

According to Naha Fire Department officials, the man had tumbled into Shiowatari River in Maejima, Naha, about noon on Feb. 16th. The witness who saw the victim fall called the public emergency number, and the operator advised him to take a pre-positioned float made of a set PET bottles and throw it to the man in the river. The victim managed to grab the float and hang to it until the Fire Department rescue team arrived at the scene about 10 minutes later.

This is the first reported case someone was saved by this emergency flotation system.  The emergency PET bottle floats have been installed at 28 places along riversides in Naha City. The idea of them came from members of Naha Fire Fighters’ Chapter who put them in place last March. The bottles are colored red and a float consists of a set of three 2-liter PET bottles tied together plus one separate bottle that has a 20-meter-long rope tied to the float inside.

According to Naha Fire Department officials, one PET bottle enables a person to float on water. The set of three bottles can carry a weight up to 100 kg.