Here’s an odd one from recent history. On January 20, 2004, the BBC had a headline that read: Russian army rescues kegs of beer. Subtitled “Russian troops have retrieved 10 tonnes of beer trapped under the Siberian ice after a week-long operation,” you know you’re in for something special. Here’s the story:
A lorry carrying the beer was lost while crossing the frozen River Irtysh, near the city of Omsk, about 2,200 kilometres (1400 miles) from Moscow.
The driver managed to jump out after the ice gave way, but the lorry and its cargo sank.
Six divers, 10 men with electric saws and a tank pulled the beer kegs – but not the truck – to safety.
Beer going cheap
With temperatures reaching -27C, the rescue mission was fraught with problems.
Russia’s Tass news agency reported that the recovery team eventually managed to pull the vehicle through a hole in the ice.
They retrieved the kegs of beer but the rope snapped and the truck slipped back under the water.
The Rosar brewery in Omsk said the freezing temperatures probably kept the quality of the beer from deteriorating and said it will still take the delivery.
It plans to sell the beer at a discount.
As many people commented at the time, at least the Russian Army had their priorities straight.
The Tass News Agency added the same day:
Russia has sent in the army to bolster a week-long struggle to rescue 10 tons of beer trapped under Siberian ice, Itar-Tass news agency said Tuesday. A lorry carrying the beer sank when trying to cross the frozen Irtysh river, and a rescue team of six divers, 10 workers and a modified T-72 tank from the emergencies ministry have so far failed to save the load.
“The situation hasn’t developed according to our ideal scenario,” the deputy head of the Cherlaksky region, told the agency. Temperatures were around minus 27 degrees Celsius (minus 17 degrees Fahrenheit) in the region, near the Siberian city of Omsk and around 1,400 miles from Moscow.
A week-long effort to cut a 100 yard corridor to the river bank to pull the truck to dry land failed when the vehicle was swept away from the rescue site, Tass said.
But it said the soldiers were confident it would take them just a day to retrieve the beer.