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May 17, 2016

WORLD MOST DANGEROUS JOB * Russia: TRUCKERS on Siberia's "Ice Highway"

* Siberia - 12-day journey being a truck driver on Siberia's. One of the world most dangerous jobs

(Google Maps and Melia Robinson/Tech Insider)

--- Photographer Amos Chapple of Radio Free Europe recently joined one young truck driver on a 12-day journey to deliver groceries to Russia's Arctic north. See what it's like to do one of the most dangerous jobs in Russia... As temperatures dip below 30 degrees Fahrenheit, the rivers of Russia's Arctic north freeze solid. While for most it's an excuse to stay indoors, winter is when the trucking business truly comes to life... Truck drivers ferrying supplies to the farthest, coldest reaches of Russia hop into their vehicles and drive over those frozen arteries. The work is dangerous — especially as the ice eventually melts and thins — and lonely...


... Ruslan Dorochenkov, 28, loves cursing, heavy metal music, his kids, and his religion. For eight years, he's risked his life on Siberia's ice highway... On this particular journey, he was tasked with delivering groceries from Yakutsk to the Arctic town of Belaya Gora. This type of gig typically pays about $600... Dorochenkov drives the Kolyma Highway from Yakutsk to Ust-Nera, where he switches to the ice. The drive from Yakutsk to Belaya Gora takes five days, if things go smoothly...


... The trip begins in a warehouse outside Yakutsk, where pasta, cooking oil, soft drinks, and pounds of chocolate croissants are loaded into the truck. It weighs 25 tons...

... Dorochenkov hits the road in the late afternoon, accompanied by another young man who trades free passage for help on the journey... The Kolyma Highway takes them halfway to their destination. It also goes by another name: The Road of Bones. Tens of thousands of gulag prisoners died constructing it during the Stalin era, and their bones are buried underneath...

... When night falls, they sleep with the engine and heaters running. Temperatures drop so low, they carry a blowtorch in case vehicle parts need to thaw...

... At the halfway point, they arrive at the Indigirka River. "Once frozen, the river serves as a kind of magic carpet, allowing access to areas of the Sakha Republic virtually impossible to see any other way," Chapple writes...

... Later, they approach a hole in the ice the size of a truck. Dorochenkov brakes hard and throws the truck into reverse, saying, "That's fresh." ...

... Some have died falling into the ice. Dorochenkov keeps a photo of a friend's truck. "He was lucky," he says. "If it goes through nose-first, you're screwed." ...

... Life on the ice highway has its perks. At 3 a.m., Chapple awakes to this magnificent sight of Aurora borealis. Dorochenkov calls it a "message from the universe." ...

... Exhausted and in desperate need of a shower, Dorochenkov never fails to stop when he sees a trucker in trouble. It's "just what you do" on the ice road, he says...

... Five days later, he arrives in Belaya Gora, a town of 2,000 residents who rely on his services. Lucky for them, Dorochenkov says the ice road runs in his blood... Before returning to Yakutsk, Dorochenkov takes a bath...

(All Photos by Amos Chapple/RFE/RL)  --    - Tech Insider, by Melia Robinson - May 12, 2016

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