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'I watched the earth approach': the story of the only survivor of a plane crash



On August 24, 1981, An-24 crashed in the Far East, colliding with a Tu-16K bomber. Of the 38 people on board, only 5200-year-old Larisa Savitskaya managed to survive after falling from a height of 20 meters, says

Photo: Shutterstock

On August 24, 1981, near the city of Zavitinsk, a Tu-16K bomber collided in the air with an An-24 passenger aircraft. The fragments flew hundreds of meters away, and all 38 people on both sides were considered dead - it seemed impossible to survive in such a disaster.

But to everyone's surprise, three days later, among the corpses and wreckage of planes, they found a living girl - a 20-year-old student Larisa Savitskaya, who at the time of the disaster was returning from a honeymoon with her newly-made spouse. The husband, alas, died.

They were young, beautiful and happy. In April, they got married, but because of the session, the honeymoon trip had to be postponed until the end of the summer. Part of the honeymoon was spent in Vladivostok with Larisa's relatives, and then went to Vladimir's parents in Komsomolsk-on-Amur. It's time to return to your place in Blagoveshchensk. Vladimir bought tickets for August 24, but instead of joy he saw annoyance and chagrin on Larisa's face. She didn’t want to fly that very day, and she had warned him about it in advance.

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24 August. The flight is delayed due to weather conditions. Some strange premonition still torments Larissa. After 4 hours, departure is allowed. Larissa, Vladimir and 25 more passengers, including a small child, board. Surprisingly, there are a lot of empty seats on the plane. The stewardess invited the couple to sit in front, but Larisa chose a place in the rear. Sitting at the window, she fell asleep almost immediately.

The girl woke up from a strong blow and sudden cold. The impact threw her out of the chair. The plane broke into 2 parts, Larisa was lying on the floor right at the edge of the fault - on the floor of the plane, which was rapidly falling down.

Today a film is being made about this story. The painting titled "One" will hit the big screens in 2021.

Passengers were thrown overboard straight from the seats

The military plane collided with the passenger, cutting off its roof with its belly. That is, it was ripped off. She just disappeared in a couple of seconds. An instant depressurization occurred, it immediately became very cold - the temperature dropped to -30 degrees.

Larisa was not fastened, she was thrown into the aisle, but she managed to pull herself up, climb into another chair, cling to it, squeeze into it, "- says the details of the incident, the producer of the future film Anton Belov.

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By the way, Larisa herself does not like to remember this story - she gave a detailed interview only once, when she agreed to help in making the film. However, the finished script of the picture was read and approved by her current husband - she herself is not able to dive again at that time.

She did not shout because she immediately saw: her husband was dead

Savitskaya's survival story is truly amazing. She herself calls this case an absolute success. Firstly, shortly before the flight, Larisa watched a film about a girl who got into such a situation: she was saved by the fact that she pressed herself into a chair, which Larisa herself managed to do. Secondly, Savitskaya recalls that she was as focused as possible.

“I didn’t worry and shout, I didn’t get hysterical ... I didn’t shout because I saw right away: my husband was dead. Why shout? All the worst has already happened. I knew that I would die soon too ... But I understood that in any situation I had to try to save myself - what if it works out? " - shared Larisa in an interview with reporters.

Savitskaya was saved in a really miraculous way. The plane began to fall apart in the sky, but Larisa managed to stay in one of the pieces, which did not fall to the ground, but glided over the birches. Thanks to this, the landing turned out to be softer, although still painful: from the blow, the girl lost consciousness, woke up only five hours later.

Larisa with her son on the set of a film about the disaster. Screenshot: TVNZ

Like many other things in the USSR, they tried to keep the plane crash secret: a military plane took part in it. All forces were thrown into the search for secret data so that they did not fall into the wrong hands. No one thought to look for survivors. Therefore, Larisa spent three days in the forest with a broken arm, ribs and spine - in five places. How she continued to walk is a mystery. The girl did not eat, but only drank rainwater.

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At some point, Savitskaya saw a helicopter flying by, began to wave to him, but the pilots mistook her for a geologist. Then Larissa tried to dry the matches soaked in her pocket in order to make a fire and thus attract attention. Fortunately, search teams found her very soon.

When the shock passed, the injuries made themselves felt: it took a year for Savitskaya to start sitting and walking again. General rehabilitation took about 10 more years.

This story pushed Larisa to choose a certain profession: today she is a psychophysiologist, stress psychologist. However, like her second husband, whom she met a few years after the disaster. In 1986 they had a son.

Savitskaya does not like to remember that time and does not mark this date in any way. Unlike her relatives - from year to year on August 24 they celebrate Larisa's second birthday.

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