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The Siberian Times

Passengers 'knew they were crashing' and typed frantic text messages to loved ones

By The Siberian Times reporter
25 October 2016

Survivor from helicopter disaster 'used stars and moon' to direct rescuers to crash site: he was only of 3 survivors out of 22 on board.

'The flight was bad, with strong winds and snow, no visibility, and all of them began to shake as it became clear they were falling.' Picture: EMERCOM

Valery Svetlichny, 32, who was saved because he 'wore his seat belt' unlike some others in the stricken Mi-8, was one of only three who survived the horror. Using a dead man's cell phone he summoned help without which the trio still alive after the tragedy may not have lived. 

His mother Tatyana Svetlichnaya said: 'He told me: 'Mom, we realised we were falling'.

'The flight was bad, with strong winds and snow, no visibility, and all of them began to shake as it became clear they were falling. Everyone started to type text messages. My son sent a message to his sister: 'We're flying, scary'... and that's all ...

'And then he woke up. Everyone around was already dead. He found someone else's phone, as his own fell somewhere, and tried to get in touch with the emergency services. Then he found two more men alive.'

Crash site


Crash site


Crash site

'Since Svetlichny did not know this area, and the helicopter fell into the lowlands, he had to tell us on which side he saw the moon and different constellations, such as the Big Dipper.' Pictures: EMERCOM, Vesti.Yamal

She said: 'My son said he was in the tail of the helicopter and he was fastened.' He told her: 'Not everyone was fastened. Maybe he was also lucky that the helicopter fell on the other side.'

Pictures show how the helicopter landed on its side.

Another survivor was Alexey Veremev, 42, and he too had alerted the authorities but he was stuck inside the plane along his dead workmates from an oil facility in Krasnoyarsk region. 

Svetlichny had clambered outside the wreckage, and then he was able to help rescuers find the site. He was almost unscathed but suffered severe shock and hypothermia in the five hour wait for rescuers. 

Svetlichny


Tatyana Svetlichnaya

Valery Svetlichny, 32, one of 3 survivors. Tatyana Svetlichnaya, Valery's mother. Pictures: Social media, Vesti.Yamal

An emergencies official  said: 'Since Svetlichny did not know this area, and the helicopter fell into the lowlands, he had to tell us on which side he saw the moon and different constellations, such as the Big Dipper. 

'It also helped that Svetlichny noticed a gas production plant near the crash site.'

He said: 'When the rescuers approached, they could not see anything. But he heard them by the sound of the helicopter engine and began to guide them in.'

He and another survivor Dmitry Verzilov were taken to Novozapolyarny, around 60 km from the crash site. Elvira, his daughter, said: 'My dad called me from Novozapolyarny. He just said: 'It's me, I'm alive'. 

'While we do not know exactly what happened, dad works as a driver. They were coming back from a shift. They were to fly on 18 October. But every time he was delayed because of the weather conditions... Why they still allowed them to fly is a mystery.

Alexey Veremev


Map

Alexey Veremev, 42, was one of the first, who called the rescuers. Pictures: Social media, The Siberian Times

'My dad was always afraid to fly by these helicopters. When he flew, he always prayed, because everything shook and the wind blew through the cabin. We only know that he has a lot of fractures.'

The third survivor Alexey Veremev, was freed from the Mi-8 by rescuers. 

As previously reported, before the rescuers' arrival he had begged the emergency services: 'Where is the help? Will there be any help?, he pleaded on a cell phone to the emergency services.

'Three are moaning,' he told them. 'And the rest do not even moan. One guy was able to climb out. He wanders around the helicopter, but he is kind of insane... I do not know where we are. Where is the help? Will there be any help? I can't get out of the helicopter, my leg got caught.'

Read our previous story about the crash: Survivor of helicopter crash pleads for help by phone surrounded by 19 dead

Comments (3)

Very sad. How about we stop taking fossil fuels out of the ground and then people won't be flying to remote places. Time to "go green" world-wide as fast as possible.
Jae,
28/11/2017 20:48
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As a follow up to my comment under the previous article covering this helicopter crash, I want to apologize if I offended someones feelings, it wasn't my intention, I just feel critical and sad due to the lax attitude for safety which probably triggered my somewhat sarcastic comment, sorry. Let us instead learn from this tragedy and remember always use seat belts, being it in a helicopter or car, in order to try save more lives as this is statistically proven.
ps. Here in Finland we don't yet have snow, but during this week I have noticed increased use of winter tires as rain and fog makes the roads slippery when the temperature plunges below freezing point during the nights, also our news media is already reminding the citizens to be on the alert, hope the Russian news media is equally responsible to its citizens, stay safe and peace.
Vaeltaja, Finland
26/10/2016 20:16
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"Valery Svetlichny, 32, who was saved because he 'wore his seat belt' unlike some others..."


Yes, seat belts really save lives both in helicopters and other vehicles, I read the comment by the guy Vaeltaja from Finland in the previous article of this accident and he was right to point out using seat belt, but some sour grapes still go down vote his comment, why my Russian friends, can not handle truth or hurting macho ego?? Critic must be taken to heart to improve safety!
Vaclav H., Slovakia
25/10/2016 18:31
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