Monday, January 07, 2008
Rescuers have reached 11 people who survived a shipwreck and then were stranded in the Russian wilderness for almost three months, Russian media reported. The castaways — eight men and three women — were picked up Friday and appeared to be in good health. Their ordeal began Oct. 10 when their two small fishing boats collided during a storm in the Kamchatka Peninsula on the Pacific coast in Russia's Far East, several news outlets reported. They found an abandoned military base, where they burned furniture for warmth. They ate fish they caught at sea, and cooked rudimentary pancakes using flour and cooking fat they found at the base.They found Christmas ornaments and decorated the base with them as the holidays drew near. "Their attempts to fix one of the boats did not meet success and they had to remain at the derelict base," Olga Mikhailova, a spokeswoman for the regional government, told the RIA-Novosti news agency. When supplies ran low early this week, five of the fishermen set out on foot to look for help. Trekking four days through the snow, they found a working radio centre and were able to call for help. Rescuers located the group and took them by helicopter to Petropavlovsk-Kamchatka, the regional capital. During the rescue, the castaways showed Russian media the fried pancakes they made. "We haven't had sugar here for a long time; I've forgotten what it is," one of the fishermen told NTV television.