A 71-year-old man attempted to self-immolate in the US on June 20, leaving behind notes in Vietnamese that voiced his protest against a Chinese oil rig deployed into Vietnamese waters.
The man, who has yet to be identified, set himself on fire at the entrance to the Silver Lake Community in Florida’s Manatee County, Bradeton Herald’s news website reported on June 21.
His suicide attempt, however, was foiled by two by-passers.
Travis Miller and Micha Rhine told the website that they saw him engulfed in flames.
Miller grabbed him by hand and dragged him out, before the couple used a cooler, a jug of water, and some blankets to put out the flames.
“He was yelling the whole time, ‘I want to die, let me die,’” Rhine was quoted as saying.
A Manatee County Sheriff’s detective who was driving by the scene pulled up, and called for assistance, according to the news report.
The man was flown by a helicopter to a hospital where he was listed in critical condition.
The news site quoted a release from the sheriff’s office as saying that the victim apparently poured gas on himself and set himself on fire in an attempt to commit suicide.
Two sheets of paper written in Vietnamese were found at the site, with one of them reading: “Hai yang 981 must leave VN’s territorial waters. Heroes may die; but their heroic cause never will.”
It was the third suicide-proteset attempt to be reported since China moved an oil rig into Vietnam’s exclusive economic zone on May 2.
On May 23, a 67-year-old Vietnamese woman carried banners protesting China to the front gate of Reunification Palace in Ho Chi Minh City and burned herself to death.
About two weeks later, a 32-year-old man made a similar attempt in downtown HCMC, but police managed to stop him before he could douse himself in gasoline.
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