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Fellow traveller

Pensioner survives two nights on frozen sea, thanks to push-ups and lard

By The Siberian Times reporter
21 January 2016

Fisherman Vladimir Kristya, 69, got lost on ice in Amur Bay as huge snowstorm engulfed Vladivostok.

'I told them the wind was blowing  to my left cheek. They told me - 'you are going in right direction'.' Picture: Vesti.ru

His family welcomed him back after fearing he was lost in temperatures as low as minus 18C after he had gone ice fishing on 18 January on the frozen Sea of Japan.

Viktoria Sabrekova, his elated 17 year old granddaughter, said: 'He spent two nights on the ice... in the snow... We were praying, hoping that he would survive. At about 8.45 am we heard the key turning in the door - and granddad came back!'

He suffered frostbite on his left cheek, which he used as a compass, battered by the icy wind, and on his hands. 

Vladimir Kristya


Vladimir Kristya

Vladimir Kristya suffered frostbite on his left cheek, which he used as a compass, battered by the icy wind, and on his hands.  Pictures: Vesti.ru

Vladimir said: 'When I went out, I met a fisherman who had been fishing at night. He had a full box of fish. He told me - 'sit a bit, maybe will catch something too'. 

'I sat with the rod, but with no luck. There was no wind, all was clear, when I arrived. But suddenly I could not see the shore. I called my wife, and told her that I was lost.'

The rescue services called him on his mobile, trying to help him find his way back to the shore with almost no visibility. 'The rescuers talked to me on the phone,' he said. 'I told them the wind was blowing  to my left cheek. They told me - 'you are going in right direction'.'

Vladimir Kristya and his family


Vladimir Kristya and his family

Viktoria Sabrekova, Vladimir's 17 year old granddaughter, said: 'He spent two nights on the ice... in the snow...' Pictures: Vesti.ru

But he could not see any lights and flares which were shot into the sky to help him. Nor did he hear loudspeakers from the location he was last seen. Attempts to pinpoint his position on the frozen sea from his mobile signal also failed. 

Vladimir said: 'There was a kind of 'corridor' where the ice was clear. I warmed up there, did squats, and push-ups. I had a thermos of Schisandra tea, so I drank this, and ate a piece of lard with garlic.'

Map


Fishermen on Amur Bay


Fishermen on Amur Bay

Fishermen on the ice of Amur Bay, right on the place where Vladimir got lost. Pictures: The Siberian Times, Valery Kambalin

Through the long night, he sat on his wooden fishing box, constantly getting up for 'some small jogging'. By morning, his phone's battery had run out. But visibility was better, and he could pick out cars on the ice, abandoned by fellow fishermen in the snowstorm. 

Rescuers failed to locate him but he slowly found his way towards the shore. By late at night he saw shore-hugging cottages in Sedanka district. 

He wriggled under a fence but no-one was in the house. So he spent a second night sheltering near a shed. At 7 am on 20 January he saw a light in another house and went there. 'The owner, Andrey, said - 'come in, have some tea. Then he brought me home.'

Comments (3)

Tougher than nails...smart too. All these folks in that part of the world are intelligent with an innate strong will to survive. God was on the ice with him too.
Ozzie Finley, Point Pleasant, WV U.S.A.
22/01/2016 22:08
4
0
Another survival story that gladdens the heart. Vladimir may have gotten frostbite, but he is none the worse for wear.
Ah..... these Siberians... so tough and hardy and worthy of their region!
E. Espinosa, Edmonton, Alberta, Canada
22/01/2016 17:59
5
0
lucky man indeed. and for sure he is going back as sonn as possible?
Benedikt, Moscow,Russia
21/01/2016 22:03
6
0
1

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