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Tragedy as British tourist, 69, dies in motorbike accident on Road of Bones

By 0 and 0 and 0
10 July 2019


Anatoly Chernyavsky, Russian bike-traveler, blogger and photographer at on of the most dangerous places of Kolyma Highway. Picture: Anatoly Chernyavsky

The tourist was on a trip organised by a Moscow travel company when he ‘lost control of his BMW motorbike’ hitting the oncoming tanker, it was reported. 

Pictures from the crash scene were published by regional media. 

The British tourist was named as Graham Demitros Vavangas, born in 1949.

He died at the scene of the crash, said reports. 

Crash scene

Crash scene

He died at the scene of the crash, said reports. 

The Road of Bones or Kolyma Highway connecting Yakutsk to Magadan was built in the Stalin era by Gulag prisoners - many of whom perished during the construction.

Vavangas was killed some 325 kilometres from Yakutsk on the in the direction of Khandyga village in Yakutia, the world’s coldest region.

The Briton's body was later transported to Khandyga.

Interpreter Alexander Pakhomov said: 'Graham Demitros Vavangas from Great Britain has been killed. 

'On 25 July he would have turned 70. 

Graham Vavangas

The British tourist was named as Graham Demitros Vavangas, born in 1949. Picture: RusMotoTravel

'We met on Sunday in Yakutsk for the excursion for a group of bikers. 

'They planned to reach Magadan. Their tour had began in Vladivostok.'

Vavangas, believed to be from West Sussex in the UK and to have had a career in the aviation industry, had posted on the travel company site: 'This is truly an adventure trip of amazing proportions (Moscow-Vladivostok). 

'The great distances across this vast country, stunning scenery, fascinating traditional Russian villages and life all packaged, arranged and led by highly experienced and responsible guides. 

Scania truck

Graham Vavangas collided with Scania tanker, say police in Yakutia.

'One of the most interesting and enlightening motorcycle tours you could join which will leave you with a snapshot and better understanding of Russia from west to east. Thoroughly recommended.'

A group of six were on the trip including the Briton, a Canadian and Russians. 

None of the others were involved in the accident. The group included a back-up car.

Road of bones

Road of bones

The Road of Bones or Kolyma Highway connecting Yakutsk to Magadan was built in the Stalin era by Gulag prisoners - many of whom perished during the construction. Pictures: Social media, Stas Mikhailov

Tass reported that the British Embassy in Moscow were providing consular assistance to the bereaved family. 

'The British Embassy in Moscow is in contact with local authorities regarding the death of a British citizen in Yakutia and is ready to provide consular assistance to the family of the deceased,' said a report.

Comments (13)

Please, if anyone knows where my friend is buried, could you write?
Claudius, France
18/12/2020 02:25
I had the privilege of meeting Graham a number of times, his enthusiasm, humour and zest for life were second to none.
He will be sorely missed by all who knew him.
R.I.P. Graham.
SJ, Surrey
08/04/2020 21:31
I had the privilege of meeting Graham on a ride through Russia then followed up with a camping night in a Glencoe. He was a true gentleman. Sad sad story.. my heart goes out to his family. RIP amigo.
Steve Mason, Lenzie, Scotland
02/08/2019 04:11
I had the privilege of serving with Grahem in the British Army (Airborne Forces) he was a great guy who even then lived life to the full. At least he died doing something he loved. My thoughts and respects go to his family.

RIP Grahem your duty is done.
Tony Bauer, Bideford Devon. UK.
18/07/2019 03:56
Ich habe Graham 2018 auf der Tour nach Vladivostok kennengelernt. Wir sind tausende Kilometer gemeinsam gefahren.
Danke für diese schöne Zeit.
Josef Rachinger, Eggelsberg, Austria
16/07/2019 09:24
May Graham Rest In Peace.
GD, Turkmenbashi/Turkmenistan
15/07/2019 16:42
We have been very close Friends, Shocked to hear this. Rest in peace Gray, you have been a true friend, we‘ll never forget you
Heidrun Becker, Berlin
13/07/2019 21:58
Met Graham many , many times during his time in Turkmenistan both for business and socially.
Real professional and a great guy to boot. I always admired his energy and enthusiasm so makes very sad reading to see Graham leave this world early.
My sincere condolences to Graham's family at this time.
Tom Hardy, Ashgabat , Turkmenistan
12/07/2019 19:02
Some 20 years ago I worked with Graham as the operations director having a great passion for HD, riding between 6 and 9k km during my holidays. Graham never understood or shared my passion but when I met him and Elaine again early this year, I talked to a more than enthusiast biker. He understood the risk involved but took all safety precautions you would expect from a pilot and manager in the aviation industry. My thoughts are with Elaine and her family and I am sure that Graham only regrets to have left them behind. Wish you all strength.
Renee De Jong, Stavanger, Norway
11/07/2019 19:13
I flew many times with Graham, he was a fantastic pilot and a gentleman, my thoughts are with his family, Rest in peace my friend.
David Ellis, Scotland
11/07/2019 16:38
A very sad incident but I salute the man for continuing to live life to the full, at 70 years old (I am the same age and doing the same; refusing to slow down just because I am older now).

He died with his boots on and so will I; Siberia is on my 'bucket list' as well.

Rest in Peace.
David Mann, Kremenchuk, Poltava Oblast, Ukraine
11/07/2019 05:36
Lioba Multer, Florence, OR
11/07/2019 04:23
I hope you read it. Uncle Graham, thank you for everything what you have done for me and my family. I will never forget you and I believe that your journey continues in the next world. Bon Voyage my friend...
Ann Sh., Moscow
11/07/2019 00:17

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