Entries in Siberia (4)


2,500-Year-Old Siberian Mummy Has Detailed Tattoos

Akg-images/RIA Nowosti/Newscom(NEW YORK) -- High in the Altai mountains of Siberia, not far from the border between Russia and Mongolia, researchers have found the mummified body of a young woman covered with tattoos that archeologists say look remarkably modern.

The woman, probably about 25 years old, was buried some 2,500 years ago and found in 1993.  She most likely belonged to the Pazyryk tribe, nomads who inhabited the area for centuries.  Kept cold in the permafrost, she was, say the scientists, well enough preserved that one can see intricate tattoos of animals and what appear to be deities.

“Compared to all tattoos found by archeologists around the world, those on the mummies of the Pazyryk people are the most complicated and the most beautiful,” said Natalia Polosmak, the lead researcher, in an interview with The Siberian Times.  “It is a phenomenal level of tattoo art. Incredible.”

The young woman has come to be known as the Ukok princess.  She was buried on a remote plateau with six horses, possibly her spiritual escorts to the next world, and two men, possibly warriors. The men had tattoos, as well. Polosmak said there are older examples of tattooing -- Oetzi, the famous “iceman” from 3,300 B.C. in the Italian Alps, had some short, parallel lines on his legs and lower back -- but there’s been no body decoration as elaborate as what the Ukok princess had.

On her left shoulder, said Polosmak, the young woman had a depiction of a fabulous mythic animal -- a deer with a griffon’s beak and a Capricorn’s antlers. On her wrist was a deer with elaborate antlers.  The same deer/griffon also appeared on the body of the man found closest to the princess, covering most of the right side of his body.

The Ukok woman has been kept frozen since she was discovered.  A case is now being prepared so that she can be preserved while on public display.

The tattoos were probably made of dyes made from burned plants, rich in potassium.  The skin was apparently pierced with a needle or another sharp object, and rubbed with a mixture of soot and fat.

Even though the Ukok princess lived some 500 years before Jesus, Polosmak said some things have not changed.

“I think we have not moved far from Pazyryks in how the tattoos are made,” she said. “It is still about a craving to make yourself as beautiful as possible.”

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio


Thirty-Two People Killed in Passenger Plane Crash in Siberia

Medioimages/Photodisc/Thinkstock(MOSCOW) -- A passenger plane crashed in Siberia early Monday morning, killing dozens of people and severely injuring the few who survived.

UTair flight 120 went down just minutes after taking off from Tyumen en route to the town of Surgut. The pilots tried to steer the twin-turboprop ATR-72 to an emergency landing but were unable to do so. The plane split in half upon impact and burst into flames.

The plane was carrying 39 passengers and four crewmembers. The initial crash killed 31 people and authorities say at least one survivor has since died from injuries.

In a statement on its website UTair expressed its condolences to the families of the victims and listed the names of those who survived. The airline vowed to pay survivors and the victims’ families each 2 million rubles (nearly $69,000), as well as cover any funeral expenses, in accordance with insurance contracts.

The flight disappeared from the radar shortly after 5:30am Moscow time just a few miles away from the airport. Investigators are looking into whether technical problems and pilot error contributed to the crash.

The newspaper Izvestia reports that the pilots were young and inexperienced. The paper reported that the pilot was 28 years old and had graduated from aviation school in 2008. His co-pilot was just 23 years old. Authorities have already recovered the plane’s black box flight recorders, which are said to be in good condition and will be analyzed.

Last year Russia was rated as one of the world’s most dangerous places to fly after a string of high profile plane crashes that some blamed on a combination of poor airplane maintenance, drunken or inexperienced pilots, and violations like forged documents.

Last September a plane crash killed an entire Russian hockey team. At the time Russian President Dmitri Medvedev charged the Transportation Ministry with improving training for Russian pilots and said Russian airline fleets needed to be upgraded.

The ATR-72 is a medium-haul plane made by a French-Italian manufacturer ATR. It made its debut in 1989 and is capable of holding up 74 people. This particular plane had been purchased by UTair from the Estonian airline Aero Airlines in 2008. It was previously owned by the Finnish airline Finnair which bought it in 1998 from the Taiwanese TransAsia Airways. Its maiden flight was on August 20, 1992.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio


Woolly Mammoth Sighting in Siberia: Real or a Hoax? -- Blurry footage of what looks quite a bit like a woolly mammoth crossing a body of water in Siberia has caused a stir amongst viewers across the web, many of whom either insist it’s a hoax or think it’s another non-extinct animal.

The extraordinary clip, which was allegedly taped last summer by government-employed engineer Michael Cohen, surfaced on the website of U.K. tabloid The Sun on Thursday and caused a major commotion.  The video has lead some viewers to believe the creature that has been thought to be extinct for over 4,000 years still exists in the icy Chukotka Autonomous Okrug region of Siberia.

Cohen shot the footage while he was in the area surveying the remote land for a planned road, The Sun reported.  The hair matches samples recovered from mammoth remains that have been discovered in Russia, the paper added.

Viewers, however, are quite skeptical of the footage.  While many feel that it’s a digitally altered video, others think it’s simply an elephant, or perhaps a bear with a fish in its mouth that is slowly working its way across the icy waters.

It has also been noted that Cohen is something of a paranormal enthusiast, and has been tied to clips of alleged UFOs and strange phenomena.

Rumors of woolly mammoth sightings by cryptozoologists have persisted over the last century, with occasional claims that herds still roam earth’s northern tundra.  However this is the first time that supposed footage has turned up.


Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio


Russian Jet Catches Fire, Explodes on Runway

Photo Courtesy - Getty Images(MOSCOW) -- A Russian plane exploded Saturday just before it was scheduled to take off from an airport in Siberia. At least one person was killed.

Most of the 128 passengers and crew made it off the Russian jet after one of the engines apparently caught fire as the plane taxied for takeoff.

The plane, a Tu-154, has been blamed for a number of crashes. The Russian airline Aeroflot pulled the model from its fleet of aircraft last year amid safety concerns.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio´╗┐

ABC News Radio