Frozen Waterfall Known As “Tsar Icicle” Collapses On Tourists in Russia, Killing One

A waterfall in Russia collapses every year after freezing hundreds of tourists, injuring three people and killing one. According to the Russian Ministry of Emergency Situations, the 40-meter (130-foot) giant icicle trapped visitors under a huge iceberg in January.

Helicopters were provided to more than 40 rescuers to rescue the stranded tourists, and the Kamchatka search and rescue team, a crew of Kamchatka Emergency Services, and doctors from the Disaster Medicine Territorial Center were mobilized.  All were pulled from the ice. One boy and his father were seriously injured and taken to intensive care and one woman refused treatment at the hospital. Sadly, a 40-year-old man was pronounced dead at the scene.

Located on the Kamchatka Peninsula in the far east of Russia, Vilyuchinsky Falls is a popular year-round tourist destination, as it is formed from the melting of glaciers in the opal of the Vilyuchinsky volcano. In winter, it is known as the “Tsar Icicle” because the waterfall is frozen in a huge one-size-fits-all icicle that attracts hundreds of visitors who are determined to see this unusual phenomenon. According to BBC News, The cause of the break is not known, but reports in the Russian media suggest a snowstorm on a nearby volcano, although this has not been confirmed.

A criminal case has now been opened by the Kamchatka Investigation Department of Russia’s Investigative Committee for the provision of tourist services that do not meet the requirements of protection.  According to the investigation, in January, a group of 10 people was standing 8-10 meters away from the ice edge of the icy waterfall when the upper part of the waterfall fell down holding the cracks and the people below were falling into pieces of ice. An investigation is underway into why the giant iceberg crashed and whether there was any way to prevent the incident by providing railings to prevent people from getting too close to the foot of the waterfall, looking for signs of safety alert there.

The Russian Ministry of Emergency Situations advises anyone operating in the region to register their routes in case of emergency so that rescue services can respond quickly, as well as carry communication equipment such as satellite phones and GPS navigation. Anyone visiting the icebergs should carry a shovel, compass, matches, flashlight, and first aid kit with them. Cold waterfalls are rare but unheard of. In fact, waterfalls are seen acting strangely all over the world, including a mountain flowing backward, glowing like burning lava, and sometimes simply invisible.