Update for the tragedy in Abkhazia

Description: 5 Feb. 2006.

By: Alexander Klimchouk

Dear caving friends,

With a great pain and sadness, I have to inform the international caver's community about tragic accident with Ukrainian cavers in Abkhazia. There are many misleading and wrong information in media news spreading around, but cavers should be given facts?

Since the mid of January the speleological club of Kharkov conducted an expedition to the Bzybsky Massif, the one adjacent to Arabika massif, to continue their many years' exploration of Bozhko Cave. In addition to Kharkov club members, cavers from Kiev, Sevastopol and Nova Kakhovka (Ukraine) and Samara (Russia) joined the expedition, all
members of the Ukr.S.A. The cave exploration went smoothly and ended successfully.

During recent days, the group of nine expedition members was climbing down from the mountains by feet. Weather condition was bad, with increasing snowfall. The group reached the tree zone and stayed for a night at the altitude of about 700m. In early morning (5 a.m.) a forceful avalanche struck the temporary camp. Five persons survived in the accident (although injured to a various degree) but four cavers were missing... In result of a search, performed by the survived group members after the accident, one caver had been found dead. They
were not able to transport him down, so they left him in a marked location. Other three victims were not found. Considering a bad group condition, dramatically deteriorating weather and virtually zero chance to find missing people alive, the rest of the group went down and reached a village yesterday morning.

Continued snowfall precluded any possibility to perform immediate search operation. The Ukrainian Speleological Association and the Sochi (Russia) rescue unit are organizing the search work but the
operation will start when snow condition permit, presumably in one week or so.

Heavy snowfall during last several days excluded any possibility for immediate actions, although there was no hope for surviving anyway.

The lost cavers were: Danylo Nasedkin (Kiev), Maxim Gerasimenko (Sevastolol'), Dmitry Chernenko (Hova Kakhovka) and Igor Bednikov (Samara).

The shock and loss are enormous for relatives, friends. For the Ukr.S.A. and the whole caving community.
Text from: Zenas.gr

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