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Chinese man held for removing manhole cover during Typhoon Megi after girl falls inside and vanishes

A Chinese man has been arrested for removing a manhole cover during heavy floods caused by deadly Typhoon Megi after a girl vanished after falling into the hole.

Xiao Lin, 11, remains missing and is believed to have been washed away in flood waters after she fell down the open manhole during heavy storms in Wenzhou, Zhejiang province, shortly before the arrival of Megi on September 28, the Wenzhou City News reported.

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She had been walking in the rainstorm with her sister and father to seek shelter at her aunt’s home at about 6.30pm, after the family’s home was flooded.

No sign of her has been found despite an extensive search by police.

A Wenzhou resident, 48, surnamed Zheng, was arrested after he and his neighbour removed the manhole cover to help floodwaters drain. Police are still searching for the neighbour.

Zheng, who has been charge with negligently endangering public safety as a result of dangerous actions, said they had removed the cover to help drain water that was flooding a number of local homes.

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He said he had put up a simple warning sign, made with a red plastic bag, over the top of the manhole cover, but it had been washed away by the storm before Xiao Lin had walked past.

Typhoon Megi killed about eight people in Taiwan and at least 13 others on the Chinese mainland, with a further 20 still unaccounted for, after it caused floods and two major landslides in Zhejiang province.