Dalian, China was the scene of a large oil spill recently after an oil pipeline exploded, allowing oil to gush out and cover more than 70 square miles of the Yellow Sea.

Freelance photographer Jiang He (a pseudonym) was taking pictures of the cleanup effort for Greenpeace when he captured the last moments of life for firefighter Jhang Liang, who drowned in the oily water. In all, He took 47 photos of the death of Llang, who drowned after he and another firefighter jumped into the water to clear a blocked water pump.

Here's the sad sequence.

Zhang Liang, on top, and Han Xiaoxiong, work to clear a fouled oil pump.

Zhang Liang, on the left, Han Xiaoxiong is on the right.

Zhang and Han cut the pump free of a rope and swim away.

Han is the swimmer on the right, Zhang is on the left.

Zhang is having trouble and displaying the first signs of drowning. Han looks labored but has kept his head above oil/water so far.

Zhang, on the left, is starting to slip into the oil/water. Han appears to be helping him as best he can.

Zhang Liang, on the left, and Han Xiaoxiong, on the right, continue to struggle through the oil as Zheng Zhanhong, a soldier, jumps in the water to aid the two.

Zheng swims towards Zhang and Han.

Zhang's head has disapeared beneath the oil and water while Han tries to pull him up. Zheng the soldier swims closer. 

Zhang is completely submersed. Zheng the soldier reaches a visibly tired Han.

Zheng the solider is at the bottom, Han fights to keep his head above the oil.

Han on the left, Zheng on the right. Zhang is already lost, the fight is on for the two men to save themselves.

Han and Zheng finally haul themselves onto a boat.

Zhang Liang is in there somewhere, under the oil.

Han is exhausted and is hauled away from the shore.

Han Xiaoxiong, completely covered in oil and lucky to be alive. 

Oil is evil, terrible stuff. What makes it worse is that every one of us is totally dependent on it. We have a lot of work to do.

To read more about the oil spill, check out these stories here on MNN:

Details emerge about cause of China oil spill

Chinese crews use bare hands against China oil spill

Via chinaSMACK

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Shea Gunther is a podcaster, writer, and entrepreneur living in Portland, Maine. He hosts the popular podcast "Marijuana Today Daily" and was a founder of Renewable Choice Energy, the country's leading provider of wind credits and Green Options. He plays a lot of ultimate frisbee and loves bad jokes.

Caught on film: The tragic death of an oil-bound fireman
A photographer captured the last few minutes of life for a Chinese firefighter working in the response to a large oil spill.