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Russian extreme traveller rescued off Canada expected home in days — embassy

July 28, 2015, 14:08 UTC+3 OTTAWA
The traveller was attempting the world’s first flight on board a helicopter weighing less than a tonne
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OTTAWA, July 28. /TASS/. The Russian adventurer rescued in waters of the Arctic Davis Strait by Canadian coast guards, hopes to be back home later this week.

Sergey Ananov, who a while ago left an airfield near Moscow at the controls of a tiny helicopter in a daring attempt to circumnavigate the globe crashed. Though near to success, he spent two days on an ice floe, the greatest challenges to his life being the cold and polar bears.

At present, the pilot is aboard the Canadian coast guard vessel Pierre Radisson, on its way to Iqaluit, in Nunavut territory. In a telephone conversation with a TASS correspondent, he told of what happened flying above Arctic waters.

Ananov left Iqaluit for Nuuk, Greenland, aboard a Robinson 22 light helicopter on Saturday, facing an emergency on the route shortly afterwards. "One of the two belts that drive the air screws failed and the helicopter was no longer able to proceed with horizontal flight," he said.

"I had to make an emergency landing on the water, falling short of the nearest ice floe. The life raft was the sole item I managed to take out. The helicopter sank in 30 seconds."

He recalled swimming to the ice floe half-naked, "wearing only the lower part of my rescue suit: piloting the helicopter in full rescue gear is practically impossible," he said. "Then I spent two days struggling for life, my greatest challenges being the chill and polar bears." He was spotted by rescuers, lifted aboard and given first aid.

Ananov began his ambitious air journey round the globe on June 13. "It was going to be the world’s first flight on board such a light helicopter. Its mass is less than one tonne. And I was all alone," the pilot told TASS.

"The flight from Iqaluit was one of the last phases. My next stopovers would have been Greenland, and then Moscow. Of the expected 38,000 kilometres, I made 34,000. Unfortunately, I quit for technical reasons."

Russian diplomats in Canada are extending a helping hand. "Ananov will get to Ottawa on his own. We will be glad to help him accomplish all formalities to let him return home," press secretary of the Russian embassy in Ottawa Kirill Kalinin told TASS.

"We hope to be through with paper work later this week," he said. "Sergey will be able to take a flight back to Moscow possibly later this week.".

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