Russia: «The radio was silent» — Kemerovo avalanche survivor recalls tragedy

Mikhail «Mechanic» Korolev, the survivor of a deadly avalanche near Lake Panfilovskoe in the Kemerovo Region on January 13, recalled the tragic event via a Skype interview with the Chekhovskie Prokhodimtsy tour group, as shown in footage released on Tuesday. «It was small to begin with but like dominoes the first, second then third ledges of snow began to tumble,» Korolev said, adding «I shouted... Еще down the radio but no one answered, there was silence and I understood that a tragedy had unfolded.» «I quickly started prodding around for people in the snow, because another person had made contact over the radio, he'd obviously managed to push some of the snow aside and reach the walkie-talkie, it was Aleksandr. He was finding it difficult to speak, we could hear that he was dying. He was already running out of oxygen» Korolev continued. «I came across something very similar to the soft tissue of someone's body, I felt something soft. I called the lads over and they started digging him out» he said. «We saw a hand then we saw Maksim's head. By the time we had dug him out he was in a terrible condition, but it was the only person who could point us to where we could find everyone else.» The avalanche took the lives of two tourists, Aleksandr Bratchikov and Anton Lazarev. However, thanks to Mikhail's quick thinking and the emergency services, five were rescued. The area had not been officially approved for snowmobiling, but its abundance of snow makes it popular among tourists. The Republic of Khakassia's Investigative Committee is looking into the matter and may launch legal proceedings.

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