Spiridon Vinokurov, 48, was traveling on his snowmobile near the small village of Berelekha in Siberia when he became lost. According to the Siberian Times, a sudden snowstorm had blown in when  Vinokurov was checking the traps he had set up near his lodge, where he had been hunting and trapping alone. The storm disoriented the man and without and landmarks to gauge his location, dread set in. Desperate, Vinokurov wandered the snow-covered wasteland until his vehicle ran out of fuel.

The hunter then continued the trek on foot, looking for any kind of shelter or signs of civilization. Rescue workers described his plight as stranded “hundreds of kilometers from any living settlement.” Even worse, a pair of wolves had picked up his scent.

“Two wolves were following me along the way,” said Vinokurov. “They kept their distance as I walked–but as soon as I went down on all fours and started to crawl they cut the distance sharply and were literally breathing down my neck.”

The ordeal went on for four days, during which the predators dogged his every step. The hunter had to stay alert and appear healthy so the wolves wouldn’t come too close. Vinokurov said the threat of being attacked motivated him to keep moving even when he otherwise would’ve stopped. Surviving four days in the permafrost of Russia’s most inhospitable region is impressive to say the least. The area he was in has been known to sport average temperatures of negative 47 degrees Celsius during the winter months. The region’s frozen tundra is nothing but an expanse of snow littered with gray rocks and a few, sparse trees. By the end, Vinokurov no longer had the energy to walk and began crawling.

Fortunately, he had scheduled a visit to family in the village of Aleko-Kyuel and they reported his absence to the authorities when he never showed. A rescue helicopter combed the tundra for the missing hunter and found him still 80 kilometers from the nearest village. Vinokurov was facedown in the snow and barely conscious.

Rescue workers quickly transported him to a nearby hospital, where he was treated for severe frostbite. Vinikurov should count himself lucky, doctors do not believe that his injuries will require amputation. Furthermore, his survival alone and without much equipment in absolute wilderness is a testament to Vinokurov’s skills and endurance. He is expected to make a full recovery.

Image from Tambako the Jaguar on the flickr Creative Commons

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