Epiphany dip led to a tragedy in the Leningrad region of Russia. A young woman took an ice plunge into a makeshift ice hole and never appeared on the surface again. The drama was unfolding before the eyes of her husband, children, relatives and friends.
The tragic incident occurred on the night of January 19 in the village of Vyra in the Gatchina district of the Leningrad region of Russia. The 40-year-old mother of two jumped into the ice-cold water in a place that had not been equipped for the ritual. A man was standing next to her at the moment, watching the diving process, the woman's relatives, including her husband and child, were standing nearby.
Everything happened instantly. Within a few seconds, everyone present realized that the woman had been carried away under the ice by the strong current of the Oredezh River.
The woman's husband rushed to rescue the woman, trying to find her under the ice, but all his attempts were in vain. Other men rushed for help too, but they could not see anything in the dark water of the river.
The video of the incident shows the woman jumping into the water feet-first. Usually, people do it in specially-equipped locations, descending into the water carefully, while holding on to the railing, with ER doctors and rescuers on duty nearby.
The river immediately carried the woman under the ice. Some people later wrote on social media that the water in the Oredezh River flows at a speed of three meters per second.
The woman's body has not been found. It is difficult to say for what reason she died, whether she drowned or had a vasospasm. According to preliminary information, the woman jumped into the water soon after a hot bath.
Priest Alexander Asonov, the press secretary of the Gatchina diocese, told reporters on January 23 that the ice-diving ritual had not been agreed with the either the authorities or the church.
"This is such a terrible tragedy. At the same time, nearby, less than a kilometer away, there was a specially equipped ice hole, where the police, rescuers and paramedics were on duty. Yet, those people decided to arrange their own private event. There is a strong current in the Oredezh River, it was very dangerous from the start,” the priest told RIA Novosti.
From year to year, the church urges believers to take holy water from temples and then use it at home not to risk their lives, the priest added.
Professional divers tried to find the woman's body, although to no avail. The rescue operation has been officially completed.
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