A true Hero

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A true Hero

#1  Postby the_5th_ape » Feb 26, 2012 12:42 pm

Shavarsh Vladimirovich Karapetyan (born May 19, 1953 in Kirovakan) is a retired Soviet Armenian finswimmer, 11-times World Record holder, 17-times World Champion, 13-times European Champion and 7-times USSR Champion, who saved 20 lives when a trolleybus fell into the Yerevan reservoir.

Karapetyan, Honored Master of Sports of the USSR, ten-time finswimming World Record-breaker, is better known in the former USSR for one particular day of his life, September 16, 1976. On that day, training with his brother Kamo, also a finswimmer, by running alongside the Yerevan Lake, Karapetyan had just completed his usual distance of 20 km (12 mi) when he heard the sound of the crash and saw the sinking trolleybus which had gone out of control and fallen from the dam wall.

The trolleybus lay at the bottom of the reservoir some 25 meters (80 ft) off the shore at a depth of 10 meters (33 ft). Karapetyan swam to it and, under conditions of almost zero visibility due to the silt rising from the bottom, broke the back window with his legs. The trolleybus was crowded, it carried 92 passengers and Karapetyan knew he had little time, spending some 30 to 35 seconds for each person he saved.

Karapetyan managed to rescue 20 people, but this was the end of his sports career: the combined effect of cold water and the multiple wounds he received, left him lying unconscious for 45 days, with subsequent sepsis (due to the presence of raw sewage in the lake water) and lung complications preventing him from continuing his sports career.

Karapetyan's achievement was not recognized immediately. All related photos were kept at the district attorney’s office and were only published two years later. He was awarded a medal "For Saving Drowning People in the Water" and the Order of the Badge of Honor. His name became a household name in the USSR on October 12, 1982, when Komsomolskaya Pravda published an article on his feat, entitled "The Underwater Battle of the Champion".

A main belt asteroid, 3027 Shavarsh, discovered by Nikolai Chernykh, was named after him (approved by the MPC in September 1986).


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Re: A true Hero

#2  Postby talkietoaster » Apr 16, 2012 12:49 pm

:thumbup: :clap:
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Re: A true Hero

#3  Postby THWOTH » Apr 21, 2012 7:29 pm

What a truly good man. :thumbup:
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