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'Siberia is a home to the cultures of indigenes, including people whose ancestors migrated to the Americas'
A.J. Haywood

The man who came back from the dead after getting lost in the Arctic

By Tamara Zubchuk
18 October 2016

Grandfather Egor Tarasov's 'miraculous' survival story of 42 days alone in the tundra with polar and brown bears, and wolves.

Egor Tarasov, 51, the reindeer herder, confessed that he 'knew somewhere deep inside that I will be found in the end'. Picture: Oleg Tarasov

The reindeer herder went missing in the extreme north of Yakutia, close to the East Siberian Sea, in the lower reaches of the Kolyma River basin, prompting a search that included shamans and psychics. 

The 51 year old had been on his boat on the remote Konkovaya River to gather firewood and deliver it to the next point of the migration route for his herd. He was due to be away for a day but got lost in the increasingly cold and treacherous tundra for seven weeks. 

When he left he was dressed for the end of an unusually mild summer, without warm clothes, and day temperatures of up to 15C. He survived living rough through the short Arctic autumn, and was eventually found in winter, with temperatures dipping well below zero.

Local rescuers went to find him the day after he went missing with a full-scale search with a team from Chersky beginning on 8 September. They found his abandoned boat but no sign of him. 

Egor Tarasov Egor Tarasov

'Now I feel better, just slightly frostbitten.' Pictures: Oleg Tarasov

They say they never gave up hope but the odds were on him being dead when polar bears were spotted on the nomads' migration route. 

Shamans and psychics were brought in to advise on the search but while they did not locate him, some believe the traditional holy men may have kept him safe from wild predators. Now finally rescued, Egor has explained how he got lost - and a survival that locals say is 'miraculous' in the wild tundra.

He got into thick fog in his boat and lost his sense of direction. His fuel supply ran out, and he spent two days at the boat, hoping he would be found. With no sign of help, he attempted to find his own way out. 

He had no gun, nor even a knife. There were dogs with him, but after a time they resented the long walk and vanished. 

His daughter Anastasia, 29, said: 'He had only light clothes, and had to dry them after every river crossing. After some time he was to throw away his sweater, as it was totally wet and heavy. He ate mushrooms and berries, drank water from the lakes. It was getting colder, so he walked even at night because he was afraid of freeze.'

Map


Tundra


Kolyma river

The reindeer herder went missing in the extreme north of Yakutia, close to the East Siberian Sea, in the lower reaches of the Kolyma River basin. Pictures: The Siberian Times

Brown bears and wolves could have been threats - yet he claims he somehow avoided all predators. As he walked relentlessly on, the warm weather turned to rain and by 28 September to snow. Fog led the disorientated herder to walk in circles, and with the cold he developed frostbite on his feet.

He hiked through the Pokhodskaya and Khalarchinskaya tundra, it is reported. Finally, in late September, he came across the fishing hut, close to a small river, which belonged to angler Dmitry Sleptsov. 

It was deserted but it offered him shelter and the hope he would eventually be discovered. There was some food, and he managed to set a fire, bring water and cook. He found a radio but it was not a transmitter. But he learned it was by now 9 October. He started to mark the days on a sheet of paper.

Finally on 14 October, Dmitry arrived by boat at his hut on a fishing expedition. He used his satellite phone to alert the authorities and then took Egor by boat to Chersky, where he was admitted to the central district hospital.

Map


Chersky

Dmitry Sleptsov used his satellite phone to alert the authorities and then took Egor by boat to Chersky, where he was admitted to the central district hospital. Pictures: The Siberian Times

The father of three and grandfather of four, said: 'I was going forward with a positive mind, I knew somewhere deep inside that I will be found in the end. Now I feel better, just slightly frostbitten. When I had been walking I was thinking about my family, my wife, children, and grand children... 

'I walked on because I felt must do so. It seemed to me that I was not alone, that someone or something was next to me. It supported me too.' 

Yet locals say his survival is remarkable in such barren conditions, without proper clothing or weapons. YSIA news agency said he had 'a great desire to live, resistance to extreme difficulties, and the belief in a positive outcome'. Strength of character led Egor to a miraculous rescue. And the prayers of his family.'

In all he walked around 120 kilometres (74.5 miles) if it is measured by a straight line. But Egor walked 'round in circles' confused by fog and probably trekked many times this distance. 

Comments (6)

Egor Tarasov is embodiment of hope, courage, resilience, confidence and perseverance - all in one.

Hats off to you Boss.

We have so much to learn from you.
ProdyptPran, India
29/10/2016 00:54
0
0
jdi do prdele ty vole! ty jsi jako superman. pan buh ma pro tebe plan.
filip cerny, philipsburg usa
21/10/2016 11:26
0
1
Wow, really impressive. He should write a survival book for people who often go exploring remote places of the planet.
Krokodil Gena, Florida Swamps
21/10/2016 02:56
1
0
" God" has a plan for you.
William F Molligi, port crane/usa
21/10/2016 01:36
1
1
I wonder if he got his reindeer back
kenny, usa
20/10/2016 22:28
1
0
It is wonderful to read stories of resilient people that are resourceful and determined to survive, we never know when the circumstances will change, and we have to live on just the things we know.
Thank goodness he survived.
bernie, 30 degrees north, 90 degrees west
19/10/2016 10:58
10
0
1

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