It’s been eight days since Godfrey Gao’s passing yet there are still so many unanswered questions and what ifs regarding this sad and unexpected incident. The actor collapsed while on set filming for the Chinese variety show Chase Me, suffering from a cardiac arrest that took him away from his loved ones and the industry too soon. With so many outraged fans out for blood and demanding accountability for his unnecessary death, Chase Me’s broadcasting company Zhejiang TV finally offers some answers, and a long awaited apology.
We are sorry. We failed to protect dear Godfrey.
This is the statement the broadcaster issued today regarding the incident which was also echoed on Chase Me’s Weibo. From what fans have been saying, the apology if you can call it one is a touch insincere. After eight days of silence, people just want answers – they want details, they want the video to be made public and a public apology from the broadcaster; but they also want someone to be held responsible.
In an exclusive interview with Qianjiang Evening News, Zhejiang TV director Lin Yong tries to shed some light regarding what happened that day and the company’s subsequent actions after the event.
“Question 1: In the past few days, there have been many speculations and doubts about this incident from fans all over. Why didn’t Zhejiang TV release any other statements?
LY Answer: On December 2nd, accompanied by his family and management team, Godfrey has returned to his hometown. Since the accident, we have been immersed in grief and self-recrimination. We are truly sorry to Godfrey, so sorry to his parents, and to everyone who loves him. On the day of the incident, with the consent of the Gao family and his management team, we issued two statements announcing the death of Godfrey, expressing sadness and guilt, while also promising to take responsibility for the unfortunate event. At that time, the biggest wish of the Gao family was to get him home as soon as possible.
Since December 2nd, we have been with Godfrey’s family and team, handling the various funeral arrangements in the past two days. Considering family’s preference to keep a low profile, we focused our efforts on coordinating the relevant procedures amongst all the involved parties. We failed to protect Godfrey, and only hoped to protect him on his last journey home quietly. When Godfrey returned to his hometown, we have decided to make the relevant information public and to permanently shut down broadcasting the program “Chase Me”.
Question 2: Can you apprise us of the current situation?
LY Answer: Godfrey was repatriated back to his hometown on December 2nd and his memorial will be held on December 15. Zhejiang TV has been in close contact with his management team and have sent representatives with our condolences. We are actively prioritising the investigation and immediate closure of issues at the moment.
Question 3: There have been various speculations going around online as to what exactly happened. Can you shed some light as to what the real situation is?
LY Answer: At around 21:30 on November 26, filming for the ninth episode of Chase Me began. Godfrey participated in two mini-games and spent the rest of the time watching other participants filming on the main stage. At around 1:26 in the morning on November 27, Godfrey started filming for the track session. After running more than 600 meters and passing our equipment on the track, he slowed down, sat on the side of the flower bed, and then collapsed. It was 1:30:52. After realising this was out of the ordinary, the director summoned the on-site ambulance on standby, and the participants who were closest to the incident also ran from the main stage towards Godfrey. At 1 minute and 46 seconds after he collapsed, the on-site medical team from the Ningbo Emergency Center began carrying out emergency medical care. After more than 20 minutes of administering emergency first aid procedure, the ambulance was quickly dispatched towards the Ningbo Li Huili Medical Center. Attempts to resuscitate Godfrey at the hospital took more than two hours, following which the hospital finally announced their failure to resuscitate him.
Question 4: How many medical professionals do you really have on standby? Why is it that some netizens were reporting that they saw an ambulance coming in at 2 in the morning?
LY Answer: Each time we begin filming for the program, a professional medical team is always available. That evening, there were 2 ambulances, 3 professional medical staff and 2 ambulance drivers from the Ningbo Emergency Center on standby. The ambulance is equipped with professional first aid equipment which includes defibrillation equipment (used in rescue). Emergency rescuers are dressed in fluorescent overalls. As for netizens who reported that “an ambulance rushed to the scene at 2 am”, what they saw was in fact the third ambulance called by the staff after dialling 120. This third ambulance was not used hence going back to the hospital empty.
What is indicated above is the real situation that occurred on the night of the incident. We have endorsed the pertinent evidence to the regulatory authorities for verification.
Godfrey was a ray of sunshine well loved by everyone. No matter how much effort we have put in, we were not able to save his life. We once again express our deepest apologies and wish to affirm that we will take full responsibility for this tragic incident.
All pain and shame we feel, the love and our thoughts can be encompassed into one sentence: Godfrey, rest in peace.”