Russian Sky Diver Survived Tragedy, But Dies In The Rescue
Personal Accounts 4/26/05
Young sky diver survives landing on power line, dies in chopper crash an hour later
Doctors originally concluded that the girl died of an electric shock
A helicopter has recently crashed in the Russian city of Vologda, near a local hospital. The chopper fell down on the ground only 30 meters far from the 12-storied building of the hospital. Gripped with awe, patients and doctors of the hospital could see that helicopter started losing propeller blades: the propeller was scattered in the air in mere seconds. A moment later, the rear part of the helicopter fell off as well - the propeller flew several meters forward.
When the helicopter crashed in the yard of the hospital, it turned out that the tragedy was a sequel of another breakdown, which actually became the reason of the crash. A 16-year-old girl, a sky diver, landed on a high-voltage power line. The pilot of the helicopter immediately decided to take the girl to a nearest hospital. The girl was killed in the air crash; the pilot was hospitalized with severe traumas to the cranio-facial surgery department of the regional hospital.
Vika Obvalenicheva (16) has always been an active girl: she was a member of the river sports club for five years, she knew river and sea navigation very well. Vika decided to go in for sky sports, and became a member of a local sky diving club at the end of March. Club instructors told new members that they would have a right to start doing the sport only if they had their parents' permission for it. The headmaster of the school, in which Vika studied, assured that the girl had the necessary permission. However, both the girl's mother, Irina, and her stepfather, Nikolai, said that they had never signed any paper to allow their daughter to do the dangerous skydiving sport.
The An-2 aircraft achieved the altitude of one kilometer, when the instructor and three new skydivers jumped out of the plane. Vika Obvalenicheva was one of those beginners, but her first jump in the sky turned out to be rather unfortunate: the girl's parachute cords got snarled in the wires of a high-voltage power line. Apparently, the girl did not pull the ring of the main parachute; her reserve parachute opened, but the inexperienced skydiver failed to handle it.
Hardly had the pilot landed the plane on the airbase, when the leader of the skydiving unit and two doctors boarded the Mi-2 helicopter and headed for the site, where the young skydivers landed. No one on the airbase saw the chopper afterwards.
The suspicions of Vika's parents became visceral, when their daughter did not return home as usual. Vika's friend called the anxious parents and told them that the girl had been taken to a hospital. As a matter of fact, Vika's body was in a morgue; the body was marked as "unidentified."
Doctors said that the girl was still alive, when she had been brought to the hospital. The girl's traumas, however, turned out to be too serious. Doctors originally concluded that the girl died of an electric shock that killed her when she landed on the power line. Forensic experts said two days later that the girl died over internal organs rupture. Therefore, Vika's life probably ended when the helicopter crashed on the ground.
The reasons of the helicopter crash are not known for the time being. Details will be revealed only in a month. Specialists say that the pilot did not see aluminum wires that were stretched between the 12-storied building of the hospital and the five-storied building of the eye department. The pilot was a in a hurry; he was perfectly aware of the fact that every minute was precious. One of those minutes became the last.
On the photos: Vika Obvalenicheva (the upper photo) and the view of the crashed helicopter near the local hospital (the lower photo)
Read the original in Russian: (Translated by: Dmitry Sudakov)