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Russian lawyer swept away in frozen Oredezh River to mark Orthodox Epiphany as her children scream

Distressing moment Russian lawyer, 40, plunged into a frozen river to mark Orthodox Epiphany before being swept away under the surface by the current as her children scream in horror

  • **WARNING UPSETTING CONTENT** 
  • A mother-of-two, 40, was swept away in a frozen river in front of her children
  • The St Petersburg lawyer plunged into the river to mark Orthodox Epiphany
  • Footage shows a strong current pull her away in the Oredezh River, Russia


A mother-of-two who jumped through an ice hole in a frozen river to mark Orthodox Epiphany was swept away, presumed dead, by strong currents in front of her screaming children.

A deeply distressing video shows the woman, 40, plunge into the Oredezh River near Vyra, a village south of St Petersburg, Russia, on Wednesday.

There was immediate panic after the woman, a lawyer from St Petersburg was pulled beneath the ice by a powerful current of around 10ft a second.

Her distressed children scream and one is heard crying ‘Mama, Mama’, as a woman tries to comfort them.

A rectangular hole had been cut into the thick ice on the Oredezh River near Vyra, a village south of St Petersburg, Russia

She jumped in put the strong current swept her away and she is presumed to have drowned

A rectangular hole had been cut into the thick ice on the Oredezh River near Vyra, a village south of St Petersburg, Russia. She jumped in put the strong current swept her away and she is presumed to have drowned

A man believed to be the woman's husband, 50, jumped in to try to save her but was unable to find her

A man believed to be the woman’s husband, 50, jumped in to try to save her but was unable to find her

After an attendant shouts for help a man believed to be the woman’s husband, 50, is seen plunging into the ice hole but he cannot find her.

Rescue divers were also unable to find her body.

The lawyer, from St Petersburg, intended to dip in the waters to mark Christian Orthodox Epiphany in a tradition followed annually by hundreds of thousands of Russian believers. 

People believe that water blessed for the annual ceremony possesses special healing properties.

Some people go into the icy waters on their own, while others often take part in the celebration in groups as they remembered the baptism of Jesus in the River Jordan.

A hole had been cut into the thick ice and the air temperature was around -5C when the woman jumped in.

The river's current was thought to be moving at a rate of 10ft a second when the woman jumped in

The river’s current was thought to be moving at a rate of 10ft a second when the woman jumped in

Her momentum carried her beneath the ice as her children screamed in horror. Pictured: A rescue diver searches for her body

Her momentum carried her beneath the ice as her children screamed in horror. Pictured: A rescue diver searches for her body

Alexander Zuyev (pictured), head of VOSVOD emergency rescue service, criticised the placing of the ice hole at a point where the river had a strong current

Alexander Zuyev (pictured), head of VOSVOD emergency rescue service, criticised the placing of the ice hole at a point where the river had a strong current

On the same day a 'safe' ice hole in the Oredezh River by Vyra village was created with rescuers and an ambulance on standby as well as a wooden frame and steps to help people in and out of the water

On the same day a ‘safe’ ice hole in the Oredezh River by Vyra village was created with rescuers and an ambulance on standby as well as a wooden frame and steps to help people in and out of the water

The village of Vyra is just south of St Petersburg, in the Leningrad region of Russia

The village of Vyra is just south of St Petersburg, in the Leningrad region of Russia

Pictured: The Oredezh River when it is not frozen. Mr Zuyev said even in summer people often drowned in the fast-flowing river

Pictured: The Oredezh River when it is not frozen. Mr Zuyev said even in summer people often drowned in the fast-flowing river

She was in a black one-piece swimming costume and was seen crossing herself before holding her nose and hopping feet-first into the river.

Another ice hole in the same village had rescuers and an ambulance on standby as well as a wooden frame and steps to help people in and out of the water.

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Alexander Zuyev, head of VOSVOD emergency rescue service, criticised the placing of the ice hole at a point where the river had a strong current.

He said: ‘The woman went for a plunge in a location where there are no rescuers or appropriate lighting in an unsuitable ice hole.

‘It is one of the most dangerous rivers in the Leningrad region and people drown in it every year, even in summer.’

She was ‘simply carried away with the flow’, he added.

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