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Ice was 'too thin' on lake that claimed the life of Yanukovych Junior

By The Siberian Times reporter
24 March 2015

Silence from the authorities but residents say former Ukrainian president's son should have known Baikal was too dangerous to drive on.

Despite the world talking about tragedy surrounding 33-year-old Yanukovych, no official confirmation of the fatality. Picture: novostey.com

Ice on the Siberian lake where the former Ukrainian president’s son reportedly died was 'too thin' to drive on, according to local residents.

Reports at the weekend say that Viktor Yanukovych, who was known for his love of extreme sports, was killed when a Volkswagen he was driving fell through the ice on Lake Baikal.

It was claimed he actually initially survived and helped rescue five others from the vehicle before succumbing to hypothermia.

Despite the world talking about tragedy surrounding 33-year-old Yanukovych, no official confirmation of the fatality – or any details about what happened – have been released.

Local authorities at Baikal are remaining tight-lipped over the accident and journalists reporting for newspapers say they have been met with a great deal of secrecy.

Instead, the only information emerging is from nearby residents who are mystified why anyone would drive on the lake because they were aware the ice was too thin to hold a car.

Viktor Yanukovich


Viktor Yanukovich


Viktor Yanukovich

Yanukovych was an experienced driver, having been honorary president of the Ukrainian Ferrari team and Vice President of the Automobile Federation of Ukraine. Pictures: youtube.com/Viktor Yanukovich

A tourist called Mikhail, from Irkutsk, said: 'We arrived the day after the incident. Locals called us and warned us that near Khoboy cape there is very thin ice, and not to go there.

'Then they told us that a car with tourists fell under the ice. I have no doubt that the victim is Viktor Yanukovych, Jr.'

Khuzhir resident Igor Shramko, who has been organising holidays on Baikal for many years, told reporters with Moskovosky Komsomolets: 'Locals do not go to Khoboy this year. I myself was there only once. There was quite a big gap in the ice and I had to wade around the shore in a thick slush.

'We know that the group lived in one of the hotels near Kharantsy village. Those who come here to relax usually go fishing at this time to Khuzhir and go on the ice, usually on a local car with a local driver.

'They were on minibus and decided to go on their own. Apparently, they were very confident. But on the other hand, the car was full - there were six people, there was no place for the local guide.'

Mr Shramko added: 'To my knowledge, when rescue officers found him [Yanukovych], he swam in the resulting ice hole, which means that Victor died of hypothermia. He tried to get out, but could not do it.'

Baikal

'Locals do not go to Khoboy this year. I myself was there only once. There was quite a big gap in the ice'. Picture: Yulia Artemeva

Sources in Ukraine say he died a hero, having attempted to rescue the others in the party before succumbing to the elements himself.

Yanukovych, whose father also called Viktor was Ukrainian president ousted in February last year, was an experienced driver, having been honorary president of the Ukrainian Ferrari team and Vice President of the Automobile Federation of Ukraine. Seven years ago he took another expedition to Lake Baikal, travelling 7,000km, and so was familiar with the area and the nature of driving on ice.

While no official confirmation of his death has come out of Russia, it was confirmed by Ukraine’s former ruling Party of Regions on Monday.

Russian authorities said only that a man named Viktor Davydov had died - Davydov is his maternal grandmother's name. Russian presidential press secretary Dmitry Peskov has only commended that he has 'no information on this matter'.

Yanukovych, who served several terms in the Ukrainian parliament, was buried at a military cemetery in Sevastopol

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