New Year 2014 begins with a world record in Siberia


Divers brave minus 45 C to place a ‘New Year Tree’ beneath the ice on bed of the mighty Lena River.

Unlike in the West, the arrival of the New Year  across Siberia and the rest of Russia is the cue for Grandfather Frost – our Santa – to bring presents to children. This is the night families gather around the tree to exchange gifts at the same time as marking the New Year.

In Siberia’s coldest region, the Republic of Sakha, celebrations got underway with hardy divers braving an icy north wind and an air temperature of minus 45C to place the decorated tree on the floor of the 4,472km Lena River.

Beneath the ice cover, the water temperature is a bracing 2C. They planted the tree at a depth of three and a half metres.

The Diving Squad Rescue Service claim a world record for the a dive in such a cold air temperature. The hazardous involved special precautions to avoid ‘cold shock’ – drops of water freezing in the respiratory system and stopping the flow of air.

Sergei Sobolev, head of the diving service, said the seasonal exercise shows ‘the Yakut rescuers divers are ready to perform their professional duties in all weather conditions’.

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