• Russ falls into gully in Mayon danger zone

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    LEGAZPI CITY: Fifteen days after four European tou’rists lost their lives on the slopes of Mount Mayon, a Russian mountaineer braved breaching the volcano’s “permanent danger zone,” fell into and was stuck at a gully 1,700 meters above sea level. Both legs broken in the fall, he is now fighting for his life.

    Mark Yuchagaev, 28, sneaked into the so-called “no man’s land” without securing a permit from Albay Public Safety Emergency Management Office.

    In a report by Jerry Bilala of Busay, Daraga, Albay to Daraga Fire Station on Tuesday night, he said that the Russian tourist broke his legs in the fall and is asking for urgent assistance.

    Bilala reported that the Russian went to Mayon volcano on Sunday morning passing through Miisi trail in Daraga town.

    Bilala reported that he got a call from Yuchagaev at 8:02 p.m. asking for help because he fell into a gully, broke his leg and was beset by freezing temperature over Mayon slopes.

    The Russian said he was some 1,700 meters up the volcano. Bilala said that Yuchagaev went alone to climb the 2600-meter high volcano without seeking permit to climb from authorities and without the help of an accredited mountain guide.

    The incident took place after four European mountaineers and one of their Filipino guides died on May 7 when the volcano suddenly exploded.

    The European mountaineers and Jerome Berin a Filipino tourist guide were at Rabbit’s ear some six meters away from the crater of the volcano when a phreatic explosion occurred hitting the climbers with blazing rocks and hot steam.

    The group of foreign mountaineers who lost their lives also trekked up Mayon without securing a permit and informing local authorities here.

    Since that tragedy, Salceda totally declared Mayon Volcano as “a no man’s land” and no climbers are allowed to go up over Mayon’s crater.

    Despite of the prohibition, several foreign tourists ignored the policy. Salceda immediately directed the Albay Public Safety Emergency Management office (Apsemo) to extricate Yuchagaev in the soonest time.

    Salceda, head of the Albay Provincial Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council, said he sent two search and rescue teams at 6:30 a.m. to Mount Mayon to look for Mark Yuchagaev.

    “We sent off rescuers to get the Russian who dared to go up Mayon volcano despite our ‘no man’s land’ policy. Realistically, we could not guard the volcano’s periphery,” Salceda told The Manila Times.

    Rescuers are tracking down the location of Yuchagaev through contact of the mirror signal.

    “The rescuers are now at Miisi gully (2,500ft.) aiming to hit 3,500 ft. with visual contact of the mirror signal and find the trail of Mark,” Apsemo told The Manila Times.

    The Provincial Disaster Risk and Management Office said it may take three to four days to rescue the trapped foreigner.

    Rhaydz B. Barcia And Manny T. Ugalde

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