A 19-year-old used his bare hands to rescue his mother after she had been buried by a wall that collapsed during the earthquake.
A 12-year-old girl sacrificed herself to save the life of her two-year-old brother by using her body to shield him when their house collapsed.
And an eight-year-old is mourning the death of her twin sister who had got up early to study but was killed when a ceiling collapsed.
In Lushan County, Wang Jiaoxiong said he was sleeping on a sofa when the earthquake struck and his mother was about to enter the room.
"Luckily the wall firstly hit on the sofa and then buried my mother and the wall was also quite thin that I could save my mother in time," said Wang, whose only injuries were to his hands caused by digging through the rubble.
His mother, 45-year-old Wang Xiuying, suffered severe bruising but is in a stable condition. She was bleeding from a head wound as her son and her husband rushed her to Ya'an County People's Hospital.
"I called her name but no answer, so I kept digging with all my strength," the teenager said.
His mother said she did not realize what had happened until she was dug out by her son. "I was about to open the door, but the wall suddenly collapsed," she said.
"When we came out of the debris of the house, cries and screams could be heard everywhere in the village. I have never seen such horrifying scenes," she said.
Chen Yu, 12, died on her way to a hospital in Ya'an but her two-year-old brother, the youngest patient in the hospital, is in a stable condition with only slight injuries. Their house in Qingjiang Village collapsed and buried Chen and her brother, said Nie Zhongquan, their grandfather.
Villagers used steel bars to dig out the two children about 10 minutes later.
"We found the sister lying on her brother and she was unconscious with her hands and legs all broken and her head bleeding," Nie said. "Her brother looked uninjured.
"The sister must have thrown herself over her brother without any thought for her own safety."
In Ya'an's Qingren Village, eight-year-old Wang Yingying has been crying constantly since the earthquake claimed her twin sister.
"She came to my bed and told me she was going to do some homework in the morning, but I have never seen her since," Wang said.
Wang Jingjing had got up at around 8am and gone downstairs to do her homework as she was always a hardworking girl, her mother Zhang Xiazheng said. She and her other daughter were still sleeping on the second floor.
When the earthquake hit, their two-story house began to shake violently and Zhang grabbed her daughter and rushed outside.
"I shouted the name of Jingjing as I ran but there was no answer. I assumed she had managed to get out of the building," she said.
But when she went back to the collapsed house she saw her daughter's foot poking out from under the rubble.
She is believed to have been trapped and fatally injured when the ceiling collapsed as she tried to flee during the earthquake.