Cop Hero From Orenburg Saved People From Freezing

Dear Readers:

Today I have a human interest story about a young Russian cop, a Senior Sergeant, named Danil Maksudov.  Don’t worry, Danil is still alive and well, but there is a risk that he might lose his fingers.  Doctors treating him are doing everything in their power to try to save his hand and fingers.


The story made it into the mainstream Russian press, such as LifeNews, it even made it into Western press, such as The Telegraph, which jumped on the opportunity to gloat (asking such burning questions as:  “Does Russia not have snow plows?”) and to mock another country for their less-than-stellar handling of a highway bottleneck emergency.  This sort of thing NEVER happens in advanced Western countries, with their fancy snowplows…

But, ignoring Western propaganda for now, the fullest version of the story comes from this lady’s website.

Her name is Elena Pridius, she is a child psychologist who blogs about children’s issues.  She tells the story of Danil’s heroic feat.

For those not familiar with Russian geography, above map shows the Orenburg Oblast in the scheme of things.  Orenburg is roughly 1000 miles southeast of Moscow, located on the Ural River, and not far from the border with Kazakhstan.  Winters there can get fairly cold.

Weather Emergency Leads to Highway Bottleneck

So, within the Orenburg Oblast, Danil hails from a small town called Mednogorsk, where he serves in a Police Patrol Post.

On 2 January, around 19:00 hours emergency calls flooded into the Mednogorsk police station:  Cars were backed up for 207 kilometers and stuck in snow, along the length of the Orenburg-Orsk Highway.

Highway patrol units were dispatched to help dig the cars out of the snow and tow them away.  The cars were slowly dug out one by one, in a certain order, and dispatched in a column to Mednogorsk.  In all, around 50 cars were busted out of the snowbanks in this fashion.

Around 20:00 the order was given to shut down the highway, and a state of emergency was finally put into place.  (Too little, too late! some might say.)

Rescuing People

Meanwhile, our young hero Danil was dispatched on a routine mission, accompanying the the driver of a “VAKHTA” type minivan.   The plan was to evacuate people from the stranded automobiles and transport them back to safety in Mednogorsk.  It took hours for the van, struggling through the blinding blizzard, to reach the stranded motorists.  On arriving at the scene, Danil immediately took to helping evacuate the freezing people from the automobiles.  Forming a human chain, they passed the people along to the van.  But the brutal wind kept breaking apart the chain.  It was completely dark, the blizzard was fierce, and visibility was zero.  At one point, it was only by a miracle that they were able to grab back on to a man who had wandered away from the chain.

Eventually, with 30 people packed inside the van, the group of survivors still had to wait until noon the following day, before the snowplow machines were finally able to bust them out, by clearing a lane down the middle of the snowed-in highway.

Danil is recuperating in the hospital.

In the course of this rescue operation, Danil suffered from frostbite, especially the fingers of his left hand.  Going above and beyond his required job duties, Danil had given his mittens and jacket away to some freezing civilians, while waiting trapped in the van.  However, doctors are confident that they will not have to amputate the policeman’s fingers.

In conclusion:  People, people!  Don’t drive out there when it’s snowing.  What were you thinking?? And if you have to hit the road, then please remember to pack extra warm clothing and boots!


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7 Responses to Cop Hero From Orenburg Saved People From Freezing

  1. Cortes says:

    Your conclusion is apt. Thanks for sharing this story. Close to home I cannot share details of a recent tragedy with needless loss of life due to rescue crew trying to return promptly to station after ridiculous call out. Details would make the incident and narrator too identifiable, to the embarrassment of senior officials responsible for the call out.


    • yalensis says:

      Thanks, Cortes.
      Sometimes one cannot read these stories without being just appalled at the universal folly of humanity, our eternal unpreparedness for natural disasters which happen on a routine basis. Like, every year! Namely, what were people thinking, just hopping into their cars and driving into a snowstorm, not even wearing mittens or gloves? Sheesh! And, did the meterologists not give a timely warning to the authorities in Orenburg? And were the snowplow drivers not mobilized in advance? And why did the authorities not close the roads sooner? And why were the emergency services relying on some brave kids to improvise their rescue of stranded motorists, instead of having an actual Emergency Plan? And is the human race truly evolving into an Idiocracy? These are the questions that torment me in the middle of the night!

      At the same time, as is understandable, I got angry and defensive reading the versions of the story in Western press, where they basically rag on Russia in Schadenfreude manner and laugh at how incompetent it is, how those stupid Russkies can’t even handle a snowstorm, etc. etc.

      And this is highly ironic: Just as I was preparing to publish this post, I happened to turn the Weather channel on my TV, because we also had a bit of snow here yesterday, not a lot, just enough to make the evening commute annoying, and I needed to get a sense of the morning commute ahead of me; but apparently in some areas of the Northeast U.S. there had been pile-ups and 18-hour-long traffic jams, and all that good stuff too. So I was thinking, appalledly: “Oi! It isn’t just Russians who don’t plan ahead!” I mean, this is the NORTHEAST! Do people not have memories any more? It’s like somebody saw snow for the very first time, and asked: “What is that strange white stuff falling down from the sky? I never saw that before, I don’t know what to do, and it fills me with a sense of helplessness!”

      Actually, I suspect that in this regard American fails are caused by the same reasons as Russian fails: Insufficient budgets, inadequate planning, and a cavalier attitude about public safety.


      • Pavlo Svolochenko says:

        Thank God for Anglo-American idiocy – they truly don’t realise that Russians can and do read what is written about them in the English language. Meanwhile the English-speaking world can’t understand why their Russian-language propaganda falls so embarrassingly flat, year after year.


  2. Jen says:

    The change in weather conditions was very sudden and the blizzard was unexpected, and in those circumstances it’s no wonder the emergency developed as it did during peak hour traffic and emergency services and police were caught unawares.

    Here’s hoping Danil doesn’t lose his fingers.


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