“To everyone who does not believe, I propose to chip in the money, send delegates to the [river] Nalychev and drink water - I will allocate a mug! Do you understand what GOST is? It's not a matter of faith! This is scientific data! " - Alexey Ozerov, a leading researcher at the Laboratory of Active Volcanism and Eruption Dynamics at the Institute of Volcanology and Seismology of the Far Eastern Branch of the Russian Academy of Sciences, shouts to the RBC correspondent.
Emotions and the human factor accompany the story of an environmental incident off the coast of Kamchatka from the very beginning. “There is a war going on,” Ozerov explains why he didn’t have time to answer the journalist’s questions for three days.
The story of the environmental disaster in Kamchatka shocked many and quickly spread across the Russian Internet and the media, largely thanks to social networks. During the first week of October, all of Russia heard about Khalaktyrsky Beach, dead sea animals washed up on the shore, and frightening symptoms of people plunging into the water of Avacha Bay in the Pacific Ocean.
The staff of the Snowave surf school on Khalaktyr Beach had their first reaction to the water on September 8th. “Many had a fever up to 38, there was a wild weakness, vomiting, many slept all day, time was lost,” says the base administrator Katya Dyba. Accustomed to resting in harsh conditions, surfers did not pay attention to the feeling of dryness and cramps in their eyes. They did not dare to tell someone outside the camp about the strange symptoms, fearing that SanPiN checks would begin, they continued to ride and conduct lessons.
Subsequently, it turned out that two other surf camps on Khalaktyrsky beach faced the same problems: Quick silver and Surfway. The condition of the camp dwellers worsened by the 20th of September, several Snowave employees recall in a conversation with RBC. “Those who were most in contact with water vomited - mainly school staff. But everyone had problems with their eyes, even the students who once went into the water, ”says instructor Rasul Hajiyev. Among the most common sensations are pain in the eyes, as if sand had got into them, and a veil, as if looking through gauze.
“Personally, my eyesight dropped sharply. In five more, doctors confirmed a chemical burn of the cornea of the eye of the first and second degree, ”says the founder of Snowave Anton Morozov.
According to his estimates, a total of about 400 people could have been affected by the environmental incident - about the same number of people, according to the school's logbook and data from the other two camps, entered the water on Khalaktyr Beach during this time.
“We ask all victims to contact the UK and record the harm they have to their health with doctors. Otherwise, no one perceives this information, ”says Morozov. Members of the Russian national surfing team Mai Rudik and Dmitry Ilyasov, who received chemical eye burns, were among those who submitted an application to the Investigative Committee to recognize them as victims in a criminal case. According to Morozov, the authorities are trying to accuse surfers of exaggerating the scale of the incident. But Rudik has already been recognized as a victim.
Morozov and other camp staff are accused of unfair treatment of clients. “Surfers were feeling unwell for almost the entire September, why did they say so only at the end of the month? - asks Olga Chernyagina, senior researcher of the Kamchatka branch of the Pacific Institute of Geography, eco-activist. “They didn’t leave camp because they were in a disaster — their season ends in October.”
There has been a lot of information disc communication in history, admits Petr Shpilenok, director of the Kronotsky nature reserve in Kamchatka. The video, which, among others, was shown on Instagram by Yuri Dud and thanks to which many in Russia learned about the problem, was filmed not on Khalaktyrsky beach, but much to the north, he notes.
The video was shot on October 1 by the pilot of the local airline Vityaz-Aero Dmitry Zadirey. He noticed a spot in the area of the Kalygir and Malaya Medvezhka bays during a flight from Petropavlovsk to the Commander Islands, about 80 km north of Khalaktyrsky beach. According to him, then he "did not even know what kind of hysteria was going on about the Khalaktyr beach." “There were spots in the ocean, but it was something gigantic, dirty yellow-brown with yellow foam along the coast. I have been flying in Kamchatka for 30 years and have not seen anything like this, ”he recalls.
Zadirey gave the video to the director of the mountain-sports base "Snow Valley" Alexander Moroz, who is familiar with surfers. They asked to draw attention to the problem, the video was passed to Dudyu, after which "everything got confused" and the video began to be associated with Khalaktyrka, the pilot explains. The environmental incident has become firmly associated in the media as the incident on the Khalaktyr beach. The fact that the anomaly is also observed in the north has passed public attention. “There are simply no roads, almost no one lives, you can only get there by helicopter, and no one knows what is happening in the north,” the pilot says.
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