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Man Dies After Icy Epiphany Plunge

An elderly man in Russia's Far East died shortly after bathing in icy cold water as part of Sunday's Epiphany celebrations.

The man took ill after plunging in a font filled with freezing water in the republic of Sakha. He referred himself to nearby medical personnel but died in an ambulance on his way to the hospital after his heart stopped, the regional Emergency Situations Ministry said, Interfax reported.

Temperatures in the republic of Sakha dropped to minus 45 degrees Celsius on Sunday.

"With this exception, no other incidences have been reported. An elderly man overestimated his physical abilities, he probably had a cardiovascular problem, but we are not doctors and we cannot suppose a diagnosis" the ministry said.

Epiphany takes place in Russia on Jan. 19 and marks the baptism of Jesus in the Jordan River. During the celebrations, participants dunk themselves under cold water three times in a symbolic washing away of their sins from the previous year.

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