Russia mourns Galimov
Ten thousand Russian mourners on Tuesday paid their last respects to the only player from a top ice hockey team who survived a plane crash last week, only to succumb to horrific burns days later.other Updated: Sep 14, 2011 00:56 IST
Ten thousand Russian mourners on Tuesday paid their last respects to the only player from a top ice hockey team who survived a plane crash last week, only to succumb to horrific burns days later.
Alexander Galimov, the 26-year-old winger with Lokomotiv Yaroslavl hockey team, was one of just two survivors when an ageing Yak-42 plane crashed outside the central Russian city of Yaroslavl last week, killing 43.
The instant loss of the three-time Russian champion team prompted a tremendous outpouring of grief among Russians, especially in the team's homebase of Yaroslavl.
Supporters had hoped for a miracle, praying that Galimov would recover despite burns covering 90 percent of his body and setting up a special website dedicated to the team's only player to survive the crash.
Following the crash Galimov was transferred to one of Russia's best burns units in Moscow but died on Monday.
"All of us - the whole country - believed, hoped and prayed that Sasha would survive," governor of the Yaroslavl region, Sergei Vakhrukov, said at the ceremony in the team's home arena in Yaroslavl, using the player's nickname. "He could not make it. This is a very heavy loss. He loved the fans and the fans worshipped him."
Around 10,000 people turned up at the ice arena to pay their last respects to Galimov, who was buried later that day.
The player is survived by his wife and daughter.