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.)
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.
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!