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Giant 'Tsar Icicle' collapses on tourists in Russia, killing one

Wednesday, January 13th 2021, 6:00 am - The cause of the ice collapse is currently under investigation, but Russian media reports say that an avalanche from a nearby volcano could have contributed to the fatal incident.

A massive frozen waterfall in eastern Russia suddenly collapsed on January 7, 2021 and trapped four people for several hours. Three people have been hospitalized with severe injuries and one person has died from the incident.

The Vilyuchinsky waterfall is 40 metres (130 feet) tall and is also known as the ‘Tsar Icicle.’ This destination attracts hundreds of tourists each year during the winter months, The Siberian Times reports.

THUMBNAIL kamchatskie-spasateli-zavershili-avariyno-spasatelnye-raboty-na-vilyuchinskom-vodopade 16100174421594446087 Tsar Icicle after it collapsed. Credit: Russian Emergency Situations Ministry

A statement from the Russian Emergency Situations Ministry says that a helicopter was deployed to the scene, along with a team of over 40 people including a canine crew, doctors, and a search and rescue squad.

Russian media reports suggest that the ice might have been affected by an avalanche from a nearby volcano. However, the cause of the ice collapse is currently under investigation.

Vilyuchinsky waterfall is located on the Kamchatka Peninsula, which contains roughly 160 volcanoes. Volcanoes of Kamchatka is a UNESCO World Heritage Site that is described as “one of the most outstanding volcanic regions in the world” due to the high density of active volcanoes and major concentrations of unique wildlife.
steller's sea eagle credit: Michael Pinczolits  via Wikimedia Commons A Steller's Sea Eagle in Rausu, Hokkaido, Japan. Credit: Michael Pinczolits/ Wikimedia Commons. (CC BY 2.0)

Some of the most notable species that live in this remote environment include the Stellar’s sea eagle, the world's largest known variety of salmonoid fish, and a high concentration of sea otters.

Thumbnail credit: Russian Emergency Situations Ministry

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