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Splash! Skier plunges into -15C Lake Baikal after hitting thin ice

05 February 2015

Warmer winter caused problems for Sergey whose misfortune, and quick rescue, were captured on his own hi-tech camera.

Sergey had been skiing on the frozen surface of Lake Baikal at Listvyanka, about 70km away from Irkutsk where he lives. Picture: Sergey Ivanov

A Siberian lake skier had a lucky escape after falling through thin ice at -15C, with his embarrassing moment, and rescue, captured for posterity on camera.

Sergey Ivanov and his friends had been meandering along the frozen top of Lake Baikal on the same route as the annual race known as Ice Storm.

But without warning he simply plunged into the water below, with his unfortunate splash recorded on his own GoPro camera.

Struggling to gain a grip on the slippery surface it was only the quick thinking of his nearby friend Ilya using his ski pole that ensured he was hauled out of the water.

He recalled: 'There was no time to think. I made a jerk to the side and grabbed the ski pole. I got out on the ice and with difficulty. To be honest, I wasn’t scared, probably because I did not have time. It was lucky there was a reliable friend next to me.'

Sergey had been skiing on the frozen surface of Lake Baikal at Listvyanka, about 70km away from Irkutsk where he lives.

They had been hoping the ice was strong enough to hold their weight but, due to a warmer winter than normal, it was as thin as just five centimetres in places.

Skier fell into Baikal


Skier fell into Baikal


Skier fell into Baikal

To be honest, I wasn’t scared, probably because I did not have time. It was lucky there was a reliable friend next to me.' Pictures: Sergey Ivanov

The GoPro footage shows Sergey lagging behind his friends and when he eventually catches up, one of them is shown gingerly prodding the ice to ensure it is strong enough. However Sergey carries on and plunges into the water below.

He was rushed to the shore where his car was parked and was able to get into warm clothes, and he said afterwards he was grateful the weather was not colder – usually on Baikal temperatures can dip to -30C with a strong wind.

Sergey said: 'My clothes became frozen. I came ashore, changed in my car and then went back to Irkutsk. My relatives didn’t even notice anything, but were surprised that I was back so soon.'

The skiers had wanted to head along the route of the annual Ice Storm race, which is scheduled to start on February 6 and involves competitors running along the surface on skis or skates. 

However, there are doubts if it will go ahead this year with the Emergencies Ministry saying it could be postponed as a result of thin ice.

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