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Friday, December 15, 2017

The legendary Explorer Artur Chilingarov: “Before the dive he wrote a farewell letter”


He himself could not count the number of times sporyadzhaly expedition to the poles of our planet. He was the chief of the drifting station “SP-19”, was headed by flying a single-engine aircraft to the South pole, immersed in the deep-sea submersible to the bottom of the Arctic ocean Today… “the main polar Explorer of Russia” Arthur Chilingarov celebrates 78th birthday.

On the eve of the celebration of Artur Nikolaevich has told “MK”, as during one of the expeditions almost crashed the plane and what he wrote in a letter to a close before a record dive at the North pole.


photo: Anastasia Gadinsky

Arthur Nikolaevich, you have led dozens of expeditions, some of them consider the most difficult?

— Of course, dive into deep water devices in the North pole. Simply because nobody could guarantee that we will safely return to the surface from depths of more than four thousand meters. The rescue operation, if something went wrong, was not provided. Yes, closer to the surface we insure scuba divers. But if an extraordinary situation has occurred at depths of 2-3 thousand meters, no one would have helped. By the way, during ascent to the surface we really lost the hole. Water jet from the running propellers of the vessel “Akademik Fedorov” threw us under the ice, several times we surfaced and found that above us a thick ice shell. Thanks to the scuba divers are able to save us.

— Is it true that before the dive you wrote a farewell letter to the family?

— Yes, and gave it in a sealed envelope to his son, who was part of the expedition. In the letter were words of support. Well, the list of my debtors. As soon as we got on the deck of the “Fedorov”, the envelope I tore.

— Your dive lasted about 4 hours, with the ascent of all nine. There were moments when the thought creeps to stop the operation?

— No, we stirred up the whole country, the whole world with their idea. In the last step we simply had no right to retreat. Especially for this dive we were prepared for six years. But there were a few things that without a shudder to recall does not work. For example, when, during a stay at the bottom of our deep-sea camera picked up too much silt, due to which we could not start the ascent.

— During the record dive was set at the bottom at the North pole the Russian flag. Do you think he stand there still? Not took it over?

— Sure it. After all, at such a great depth of water movement is almost there.

— Know what you collect figurines of polar bears. During the expedition activities was meeting with a live predator, which could end badly?

— When I was the chief of the drifting station “SP-19”, the pilots brought us two ice cubs. We called Misha and Masha. The kids lived side by side with the explorers. But when on the ice looked a grown bear (and he to us then came 16 times), cubs we usually hid in the wardroom. But once I overlooked: some of the kids broke loose and ran towards the adult model. And that, apparently, did not like the smell of a person coming from the bear, here it is baby paw and struck. The bear flew straight into the direction where I was standing. The adult bear saw, rushed to my side. In one leap he crossed the distance of seven feet, was next to me. If not for our meteorologist Viktor Prozorov, I think, bear me would break. But Victor climbed onto the roof “hacks” and fired so accurately that the white fell down dead.

— It was the only threat the forwarding situation?

— No, of course, during each trip happened dangerous moments. One time I almost died in a plane crash. It was during one of the stages of the so-called Bouncing of the expedition: on the plane, we landed on the drifting ice, were immersed under water devices and measured the distance from the bottom. Thus we have mapped the bottom topography. Once on takeoff, the car failed to gain altitude and crashed to the ice. Remember, during the fall, my mind flashed the thought: “why get married, now a widow wife leave…” We are with her again shortly before this expedition we had a wedding. And I was very worried that the glass from the glasses will break and poke me in the eye. But we fell well, so to speak, none of the crew, serious injuries have not received. Out of the plane during the evacuation were able to get a few things and the engine caught fire. As I remember, among the saved food were the dumplings and the alcohol. First, we threw at once — to cook them was not on anything. But the alcohol really came through for us while we waited for the day of the rescue Board.

— Have polar traditions associated with birthday celebrations?

— Any special rituals there. But it is customary to assemble the people with whom I went to the Arctic and Antarctic, have a drink or two and talk about the issues of our Northern regions. And, believe me, a lot.

source

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