The crew of a Russian icebreaker carried out a miraculous rescue operation after they found a lost dog who had been wandering the vast Arctic ice fields for more than a week.
Aika, a one-year-old Samoyed from the village of Mys Kamenniy on Russia’s Arctic coast, ran away from home through an open door on May 21, her owner Svetlana Chereshneva told Russian media.
After a village-wide search lasting several days, Aika’s family resigned themselves to the fact that she was likely gone for good, Chereshneva told the Tyumenskaya Liniya news website. The ice drift season was just beginning, and the dog could have fallen through cracks.
But Gazpromneft-Yamal workers on board the Alexander Sannikov icebreaker spotted the white, fluffy creature on the ice on their way to an oil terminal in the Gulf of Ob, regional authorities wrote on social media last week.
Video shows Aika wagging her tail as she approaches the vessel, walking with a limp as her paws had been lacerated by the sharp ice.
The workers let down a ramp to allow the dog onto the icebreaker and then placed her on a hovercraft to return her to the village, where she was reunited with her owners.
Chereshneva said that Aika spent her first day at home sleeping after her long trek. Since then, the dog’s appetite and cheerful mood have returned.
“But after all these adventures she doesn’t go far from us and doesn’t rush to go outside,” Chereshneva said.
It’s not the first time the Alexander Sannikov’s crew have saved a life: In December, they rescued two snowmobilers whose vehicle fell through the ice of the Gulf of Ob after they drove over a crack.