A 36-year-old man, the sole survivor of a plane crash, managed to survive for ten days in the icy Siberian steppes despite being seriously injured. Miner Pavel Krivochapkin, 36, suffered a concussion and broken ribs and lived on packets of instant noodles he found in a small abandoned hut occasionally used by reindeer herders.
Krivoshapkin was the sole survivor of the accident involving a single-engine Antonov An-2, the pilot and co-pilot of which were burned alive after the plane crashed into a hillside. There was a third passenger on the plane and the only one who survived the collision.
The man, who works as a silver miner in Vertikalny, was found alive on Friday in Russia’s vast Yakutia region, an area infested with brown bears and wolves.
After he recovered in the hospital, Krivochapkin told about his difficult adventure, which began when the plane he was on got lost in the fog. Within minutes, the moment of impact came, as the Antonov crashed into a mountain slope.
“When I came to my senses, everything around me was full of smoke. To get out of the plane, I broke the door lock,” he told Rossiya 24 international news channel.
When he finally managed to get out, Krivochapkin said that there were several pieces of the plane scattered over the slope, and they were still burning. “I sat by the plane for three hours and then walked slowly into a river and started a small fire there,” he said.
The miner believes he survived the tragedy because he was sitting in the back of the plane. He says he was on a mission to bring a lot of food and tools to a silver mine.
As he was trying to warm up, already worried about the cold imposed by the harsh arctic night, he discovered a cabin nearby. Follow a path probably opened by the reindeer breeder and able to enter the room.
At the hut, Krivoshapkin found several packages of Doshirak noodles (a South Korean brand of instant noodles). It was this food that kept him alive for the next ten days until the rescue team arrived.
“that they [os pacotes de macarrão] Saved me from extreme hunger – although I did not want to eat much, because my body was aching and hurting so much. I was starving, but I almost had no appetite.”
During the time he was waiting for help, he heard several helicopters and created an improvised flag that could be seen from above. However, his efforts seem to have been unsuccessful.
“I forced myself to get up once a day, and every day I went out waving a flag, hoping someone would see me,” said the miner.
He didn’t know it, but an intense search was underway, looking for survivors of the plane crash, over an area of 11.2 square kilometers. However, only on the tenth day Krivoshapkin was located.
Rescue teams of a Polar Airlines Mi-8 helicopter found the wreckage and charred bodies of the two pilots in the Kobiesky district of Yakutia early Friday morning. An hour later, they found Krivoshapkin and took him to a hospital in the city of Yakutsk, where he is recovering from his injuries.
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