MOSCOW, September 27, 2007 - A boy who survived a freezing two-hour flight to Moscow in the wheel well of a Boeing 737's wing is on the mend, a senior hospital official in the Urals said Thursday.
The Russian tabloid Tvoi Den said on Wednesday that Andrei Shcherbakov, 15, would have to have his fingertips removed after he survived temperatures hitting -50C during his unbelievable 1,300km journey from Perm to Moscow.
"Amputation is out of the question," said Lyudmila Nefyodova, deputy chief doctor of a children's hospital in Perm. "Blood circulation is improving in both of his wrists. The muscles are quite viable."
She added that the boy was in a satisfactory condition, although he would have to stay in hospital for at least another three weeks.
The boy reportedly made the journey after a family argument which ended with Andrei running away to his grandmother's village. On reaching the village, he decided to go on, and hitched a 220km ride to the regional centre, Perm, where he was dropped off at the airport.
After reaching the capital, Shcherbakov collapsed onto the tarmac. His arms and legs were so severely frozen that rescuers were at first unable to remove his coat and shoes. Doctors said it was nothing short of a miracle that he survived the flight.
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