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21 Sep, 2007 18:16

Two Russian rafters found alive

Two Russian rafters, Aleksandr Zverev and Andrey Pautov have been found alive in northern China after being missing in the wild for three weeks. They are receiving medical treatment and waiting for returning home. The search for one more person continues,

Chinese and Russian rescuers found Aleksandr Zverev alive Friday morning. He was urgently taken to the local hospital.

Later on Friday, a search helicopter spotted Andrey Pautov.
“The rescue team transported Andrey to its base. There is a doctor there and they have equipment and drinking water – everything necessary to sustain his life,” Andrey Legoshin, the Head of Russian team of rescuers, said.

In mid-August the Russian adventurers, accompanied by two local guides, departed from Pulu village to the beginning of their downstream trip, the guides returned to the village planning to meet them again in the early days of September.
But that was the last that was seen or heard from the group of six men ranging in age from 25 to 47.

The first raft carrying four men sank in the foaming waters of a canyon. The water was so turbulent that the raft failed to float properly. Aleksandr tried to manoeuvre the raft to a safer patch of water. In the process he discovered that two of his companions had already been killed by the river. 
Having failed to send out a mayday call, the four surviving rafters put the bodies in sleeping bags and buried them under the wrecked raft. They then carried on to the designated point to meet their Chinese guides.

The men had covered only 27 kilometres when the second raft crashed. Aleksandr Zverev was thrown onto the rocks. Unable to help out his team-mates, he could only watch as the current carried them away.  

He fought to survive for 25 days in a cave with no food and just river water to drink. He lost 25 kilos.
“I told myself – that is all. You cannot eat any more. Do not even think of it. Your body will nourish itself. The only problem was to carry water. I tried to wrap it. I got to cherish water dearly! Water meant life to me,” Aleksandr Zverev said.
Rescuers discovered the two dead bodies in the sleeping bags on September 15. The next day they found the body of the other missing man.