The woman’s haunting memories of over 40 years of retrieving hundreds of corpses from the Red River

The old woman “a fisherman” who spent 40 years picking up bodies on the Red River

Born in 1953 and now 66 years old, Ms. Nguyen Thi Binh has had more than 40 years of experience with her job: recovering bodies of unfortunate people on the Red River. Because of her unique and unique job, many people call her by the name: “The rice robber Ha Ba” or “the old fisherman”.
She is 66 years old this year, but Ms. Nguyen Thi Binh has had more than 40 years of experience with her job: recovering the bodies of unfortunate people from the Red River.

Mrs. Binh’s house is nestled below Chem slope (Thuy Phuong, Hanoi). It’s called a house, but it’s actually just a tent made temporarily with iron sheets and tarpaulin to protect from the sun and rain. Mrs. Binh has dark skin and an austere face, but in return she has sharp eyes and a strong and agile figure.

Attached to the river Since childhood, the old fisherman said she always had a special premonition about corpses in the riverbed. Regardless of whether it’s sunny or rainy, hot, cold or numbingly cold, whenever someone calls for help, Mrs. Binh rushes out with her familiar set of fishing hooks to find the unfortunate people.

Come Even now, this woman can’t remember how many bodies she has recovered. She only knows that there have been hundreds of times she rowed a boat and groped along the Red River looking for people in distress.
Until now, many tragic cases still haunt Mrs. Binh every time she recalls them

Tell about her fate with her special job, Ms. Binh said that around the 70s, there was a huge flood in the North. The river’s water level rose and the water flowed rapidly and turbidly, sweeping away many houses and crops. At that time, the river passed through a steep slope. The river bed was “sunken”, so many unfortunate people who drowned drifted back here and got stuck.

“Many family in the came all the way here to find relatives who died in the flood. They cried and cried very pitifully. Being familiar with the river area, I went out with them to search all the river sections. Since then, the karma of rescuing the bodies of unfortunate people has always been with me until now,” Ms. Binh recalled.
After more than 40 years of working with this special job, Ms. Binh said she could not remember how many people she had rescued, but the number was certainly not less than a few hundred people.
According to Ms. Binh, retrieving the dead body, in addition to being “fateful”, also requires special techniques to avoid being taken away by Ha Ba. The vast sea of ​​water meets the flowing water, so the first thing to do is determine the location at the time the body sank and guess where the water ebbs and flows to localize the search area.

Usually with For those who drown, according to the rule of law, the body will float after 3 days. A woman will spread her arms and face up, and if the victim is a man, she will lie face down. However, there are also cases where the body is buried by the sandy soil in the river bed, sometimes soaking in water for a month until it swells enough to emerge.

“To recover the body, one must use the tongue scanning method. sentence. Sometimes it takes days or even weeks to walk along the riverbank to low-lying river sections to find it. The most difficult cases are cases where the decomposition has been going on for a long time, and sometimes when caught on a fish hook, the body will dissolve in the water,” Ms. Binh said.

Many times, Mrs. Binh had to drink a few cups of wine to warm herself up before starting work.

Declaring herself to have nerves of steel when it comes to death scenes, many times Ms. Binh has to drink a few cups of wine to warm up before starting work.

“The cold feeling, especially the smell of a dead body, is very chilling. “The dead person on the shore looks scared. The dead person in the water’s whole body is pale, his limbs are twitching, his eyes are wide open and he’s almost deformed. If he’s weak, he can be frightened and faint to the point of fainting,” Ms. Binh said. .

According to Ms. Binh, in addition to being “lucky”, retrieving dead bodies also requires special techniques to do so. to avoid being taken away by Ha Ba.

This woman recited that after more than 40 years of working as a body salvager, each case left her with its own painful hauntings. . In many cases, the people who drowned were children and women, or even couples in the prime of their lives threw themselves into the river.

A set of hooks used by Mrs. Binh to pick up dead bodies

According to Ms. Binh, this is a small hook set that can only pick up people in shallow water. In deep rivers, she had to use special fishing gear

To this day, she still cannot forget the scene of a man and woman drowning because of their family. The family did not allow them to get married. When they picked them up, they still hugged each other tightly, making many people cry. Or like the banana raft incident many years ago when hundreds of people sank into the river. “That day alone, I rescued dozens of people. Every time I brought this person up, I jumped down to pick up another person’s body,” Ms. Binh recalled.

Each time she recovered Mrs. Binh’s body was made into a tray of rice to worship the water god to apologize, but she never intended to “abandon” the victim in the cold river.

Painful especially in cases where when the body is recovered, the body is severely decomposed and the parts are no longer intact. The family can only identify them by the color of the remaining clothes.

“Many years ago, a A woman, angry with her husband, jumped off a bridge and committed suicide. Many days passed but the body could not float. According to my experience, I had to go all the way to Nam Dinh to “pick up the body”. However, that time the body was badly decomposed, many parts were dissolved in the water, no matter how hard I tried, I could only salvage a portion of the remaining body,” Ms. Binh said.

That time when the body was brought ashore, the smell of the corpse was so strong that the victim’s family did not dare to go near it. Mrs. Binh stayed behind to clean herself and then wrap the unfortunate woman in a white cloth.

“Every time that happens, the smell of a corpse haunts my body, especially my hair, for several days and it doesn’t go away. I often have to bathe many times with scented water to get rid of the smell,” Mrs. Binh said hauntedly.< /p>

The fishermen were afraid to rescue drowning people, even if the bodies drifted close, they pushed them away because they believed that they had to pay for their lives when they stole Ha Ba’s food. As for Mrs. Binh, every time she recovered a body, she made a tray of rice to worship the water god to apologize, but never intended to “abandon” the victim in the cold river.

Mrs. Binh’s voice was thoughtful when talking about the haunting memories of the unfortunate victims who died on the Red River

Doing a special job because of the relationship with “the dead”

Not only did she recover the bodies of the unfortunate, Mrs. Binh also saved people many times drowning or having suicidal thoughts. Around the year 2000, while rowing a fishing boat on the Red River, Mrs. Binh saw two people floating on the river. Although the winter weather at that time was “cuttingly cold”, this woman did not think twice to let go of the oar and dive into the fast water to save people.

Every day, in addition to fishing along the Red River, Mrs. Binh also takes her two grandchildren to elementary school near her house

“Thankfully, because I arrived in time, I was able to catch the mother and child who were barely alive. If you were just a little slow, the victim would lose his life because the water was too cold and fast flowing,” Ms. Binh said. That time, when she was rescued ashore, the woman’s tears were short and long, she clasped her hands and bowed her head to thank Mrs. Binh.

“ When she calmed down, she said that her family was having trouble because she was angry with her husband, so she was so distraught that she jumped off the bridge. commit suicide. However, when she jumped into the water and heard her son’s cry, she suddenly woke up in fear and called for help,” Ms. Binh recalled.
Simple rice tray of Mrs. Binh’s three grandchildren

More than half of her life has been attached to this special job, Mrs. Binh said she did it for her “heart” and that no one makes money off of the dead body. For her, doing good deeds also means “accumulating virtue and creating blessings” for her children and herself.

” In many cases of disfigured bodies, families can only recognize them through their clothes and decorations. strength. In that case, if you were greedy and took the gold and hid it, no one would know, but no one would do that crime to the dead. In difficult cases, I only take gas money and even spend my own money to help them buy coffins and arrange funerals for their loved ones,” Ms. Binh said.

The dog was saved by Mrs. Binh from death while struggling in the Red River 2 years ago

Mrs. Binh pondered She said many times she wanted to quit her job of recovering corpses to focus on fishing to make a living, but every time, whenever someone called for help, she couldn’t bear to go back and forth, trawling the net to find people.< /p>
Mrs. Binh said she hopes there will be a time when she will be “unemployed”, which means there will be no more The fate of the unfortunate person died in the cold river.

She said if God had mercy health will stick with this special job for many more years. When asked about her wishes, the U60 woman thoughtfully said that she hopes that there will be a time when she will be “unemployed”, which means that there will no longer be those unfortunate people who die in the cold river.