During the celebration of the Orthodox Epiphany, on January 19, in which believers plunge into icy waters as people believe that the blessed water of the annual celebration has special healing properties, a woman disappeared after entering a hole in the ice.
According to eyewitnesses, a mother of two jumped through an ice hole in a frozen river, and was swept away by strong currents in front of her screaming children. The authorities assumed she was dead, because rescued divers had not yet been able to find her body.
In the video published by the Daily Mail, you can see the very sad moment in which the 40-year-old woman and lawyer drowned in the Oredez River near the town of Fira, south of Saint Petersburg in Russia.
While submerged, it was swept under the ice by a powerful current of about 10 feet (3 meters) per second. Her stunned children scream and one is heard shouting “Mama, mama” as a woman tries to console them.
After a flight attendant screams for help, a man believed to be the woman’s husband is seen diving into the hole, without being able to find her.
The lawyer, from Saint Petersburg, had intended to dive into the waters to celebrate the Orthodox Christian Epiphany in a tradition followed annually by hundreds of thousands of Russian believers.
The observation shows that a hole was cut in the thick ice and that the air temperature was about -5 °C when he jumped.. She was also wearing a black one-piece swimsuit and was seen crossing herself before sticking her nose and jumping into the river’s feet first.
Some people enter the icy waters alone, while others often participate in the celebration as a group remembering the baptism of Jesus in the Jordan River.
At another ice hole in the same town, lifeguards and an ambulance were on standby, along with a wooden frame and steps to help people get in and out of the water.
Alexander Zuev, head of the emergency rescue service VOSVOD, criticized the placement of an ice hole at a point where the river was a strong current.
“A woman is drowning in a place where there are not enough rescue workers or enough light in an ice hole. It is one of the most dangerous rivers in the Leningrad region and people drown in it every year, even in summer.
“It went with the flow,” he added.