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Survivor of river tragedy overwhelmed with grief after losing wife and children on way to wedding

By The Siberian Times reporter
14 July 2019

Off-road vehicle was swept away by swirling flow killing 7 children and 3 adults - including the bridegroom who was driving the jeep.

The vehicle’s engine stopped as it took the shortcut en route to his nuptials. 

Robert Salchak, 41, was desperately searching the river bank for his wife Sayzana, 36, who had been swept away the the fast-flowing river in Tuva republic.

There were hopes she had somehow survived, but today her body was found, meaning his entire family was wiped out. 

A day earlier it was confirmed that his four daughters were among the dead - Ugulza, 10, Urana, 9, Roza, 4, and Chayzat, 2.

Driver Orlan Aldai, 40, on the way to his wedding, planned for Saturday, had driven the UAZ-469 vehicle into the Shui River - which was in spate - but he got into trouble. 

Robert Salchak

Robert Salchak, 41, was desperately searching the river bank for his wife Sayzana, 36, who had been swept away the the fast-flowing river in Tuva republic.

The vehicle’s engine stopped as it took the shortcut en route to his nuptials. 

Sayzana Salchak with her husband Robert managed to get out of the car with another unnamed man and tried to hold it steady in the fierce flow. 

But she was swept away and the men could not hold the car with was carried downstream with the children, driver Alsai and her sister Olga Khomushku trapped helplessly inside.

Car in the river


Investigators at work


Body bags


River crossing


Police at the scene

Sayzana Salchak with her husband Robert managed to get out of the car with another unnamed man and tried to hold it steady in the fierce flow. 

Those in the jeep all died from drowning unable to get out of the vehicle. 

Locals expressed shock that the bridegroom had decided to try and cross the bed of the river when a bridge was open just 3km away. 

The decision cost the lives of ten people. 

Regional head Sholban Kara-ool said today: 'It hurts and is such a pity that the driver did not use the bridge, which was only 3 km away from the accident site.

Sayzana with daughter


Ugulza and Urana


Chayzat Salchak

Sayzana Salchak, 36, and three of four her daughters: Ugulza, Urana and Chayzat.

‘It was possible to cross it safely to the opposite bank. But now it's too late to talk about it.' 

Earlier it was believed that the group were going on a camping holiday but today it was confirmed they were travelling to a wedding. 

It is known two people had got out of the car before the crossing. 

Olga and her eldest son Alash


Olga and her eldest son Alash


Alash Khomushku

Olga Khomushku and her eldest son Alash.

One was Chaimaa Oorzhak, 26, whose daughter Ai-Kys Oorzhak, 4, perished. 

Olga Khomushku and Sayzana Salchak, both killed, were her sisters.

The other dead were named as Olga Khomushku's sons Alash 11, and  Kudereku, 4.

Chaimaa with her daughter


Ai-Kys Oorzhak

Chaimaa Oorzhak, 26, who managed to survive, and her daughter Ai-Kys Oorzhak, 4, who perished. 

The men were described as ‘too stressed’ to face police interrogators. 

 Emergency medical staff used a helicopter to rush to the accident scene.

Survivors are being given psychological assistance. 

The vehicle also carried three sheep.

Comments (2)

So sad and sympathies to the families.
SteveC, Florida US
21/07/2019 22:53
0
0
Prayers sent from America. So so sad and so heartbreaking
donovan, United States
17/07/2019 00:58
2
0
1

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