While the hockey world and all of Russia mourned the plane crash that took away entire Lokomotiv Yaroslavl hockey team, there were two miracles that day. Two people on that plane survived the crash.
One was Aleksandr Sizov, part of the flight crew, who at the time of this writing remained in hospital but in stable condition. The other was Alexander Galimov, a long time forward with his hometown team.
The scene of Galimov's discovery, as described by Ellen Barry of the New York Times, is absolutely surreal.
Oleg Smirnov, a police officer, described arriving at the scene moments after the crash to see a man standing in shallow water, tearing off what remained of his flaming T-shirt and saying, “Brothers, help me.”Approximately 90% of his body was covered by severe burns. Those injuries would claim his life five days later.
“At first we thought maybe he was a fisherman who happened to be sitting on the riverbank, and was splashed by burning kerosene,” Officer Smirnov said. The man was already in the ambulance when the officers asked his name, Lt. Dmitri Konoplyov told Komsomolskaya Pravda.
“He whispered, ‘Brothers, I am Galimov,’ ” Lieutenant Konoplyov said.
Somehow Mr. Galimov seems better off dead than going through the incredible pain he must have been in. But at least he had the opportunity to talk to his father and say good bye before he was induced into a coma. That was a precious opportunity no other player on Yaroslavl had.