If cleaning an oil stain out of a shirt seems impossible, try combating the devastating effects of a massive oil spill. One small Russian town was stuck cleaning up the mess caused by the carelessness of an energy company. With the perpetrators not stepping up, the townsfolk had no choice.
So, to restore their homes to livable conditions, average citizens had to shoulder the mantle of rescue responsibilities. One volunteer clean-up guy, while wading through swirling floods of chaos, heard a feeble cry for help. He rushed to provide aid and was gutted by the source of the sound…
Anatoly Tuptey and all of his neighbors were fed up. For weeks, the residents of Nefteyugansk, Russia, were battling the aftermath of a massive oil spill in the floodwater from the nearby Ob River.
A break in a pipeline sent oil spilling out into the area, which was already dealing with flooding. Now, they were stuck with the ecological aftermath of an accident caused by RN-Yuganskneftegas Ltd., a faction of the larger Rosneft energy plant.
Trying to save face, the Rosneft announced that, thanks to the due diligence of emergency responders, the pipe was plugged. Oil was prevented from infiltrating the main river.
That assurance was taken with a grain of salt for the people living in the midst of the Ob floodwater. Turning on their faucets proved just how dangerous the plant’s pollution was to their daily routine.
Since the general consensus of the Rosneft plant, according to a local blogger, was “shrugging its shoulders” and trying to distance themselves from negative press, it was up to the locals to fix the mess.
Step in, Anatoly. He couldn’t ignore the serious threat posed by visible oil swirls in the water. Slipping into the biggest boots he could find, Anatoly braved contaminated waters to help prevent oil from spreading further.
Working near one particular dacha, a Russian country cottage, Anatoly stopped in his tracks when he heard a faint cry. It sounded so desperate. The creature emitting the shrill noise of distress had to be facing serious danger.
“My soul could not stand the cries, I went to see,” Anatoly said. “You never know what is going on, I had to check.” Anatoly followed the wails, water, and oil filling his boots, into the small house.
Flood waters had overtaken the dacha. Anatoly peered around the cabin, searching for the thing in peril, but the source of the cries was bobbing in plain sight.
Atop a wooden board floating on the oil-tainted water, were two precious kittens. Both of the young cats were clutching their makeshift raft but sinking further up to their necks into the contaminate.
“Without hesitation, I went after them,” Anatoly said. “I was up to my waist in the oil. The ground was giving way, my wading boots were full of water mixed with oil, but I didn’t care.”
Channeling Captain Planet, Anatoly scooped up the crying kittens and cradled them to his chest. Feeling the slick oil caked in their fur, he increased his pace to get them safely to shore.
Once safely on land, Anatoly wrapped the shivering creatures in his t-shirt. He could see the oil covering their bodies and was worried that his attempts to save them were too late.
Since the owners of the young cats were nowhere to be found, Anatoly felt firm that he should be the one to provide a safe home, bringing the innocent creatures back to full health.
Mammals caught in an oil spill can suffer hypothermia, poisoning, and death. So, for Anatoly, the choice to abandon your pets, let alone two beautiful kittens just weeks old, was in his words, “heartless.”
Green and Growing
After multiple baths and full bellies, the kittens were hardly recognizable from the moment their rescuer first saw them. At the time, they’d both appeared jet black!
It’s not a surprise that with a heart as big as Anatoly’s, he already was a proud pet parent. So, after the rescue, he and his giant pupper saw their family double in size.
Luckily, the massive dog and two teeny kittens became fast friends. Compared to their previous circumstances, a canine big brother was a welcome challenge.
The oil spill devastated the lives of thousands, but Anatoly somehow emerged from the disaster with two little miracles. Plus, he earned the awesome nickname Baywatch from his buddies.
Musing over the bizarre situation, Anatoly said, “A few days earlier I rescued people and equipment when a boat overturned; this day it was kittens.”
Thank goodness for fast-acting people like Anatoly, who jump into heroism on the fly. Emergencies happen in all kinds of situations, even when the heroes aren’t yet dressed for the part.
For instance, the Swedish island of Gotland is a popular place for tourists from all around the world. However, no one knows the beauty of a place quite like the island’s most popular ferry operator, who once played hero himself.
His name is Johan Skärkarl (left) and he’s spent nearly his entire life in Gotland. He works long hours each week to bring visitors to and from the Gotland island in a very sleek state of the art ferry.
Johan and his trusty crew saw their fair share of unusual things over the course of their career. However, one afternoon, they experienced something that shocked even these seasoned sailors.
On this particular afternoon, the HSC Gotlandia II was docked in a large port in Visby, the island’s most populated town. As Johan was getting off the vessel, he noticed there was some commotion occurring at the aft…
Johan approached the flurry of activity and was told by a few people standing on the docks that they were almost certain there was some sort of animal clinging to the bottom of his ferry. Without hesitation, Johan changed into a specialized suit so he could enter the frigid water.
The ocean waters at this time of year were especially cold, and without the proper gear, a person could quickly develop hypothermia and lose consciousness. Johan knew better than to tempt fate.
Once Johan was sure his special suit was fastened tightly, he began to climb down the ladder into the ocean. He knew there were people looking out for his safety, but he wanted to take precautions of his own.
Of course, if you’ve ever heard of the Polar Bear club, then you know there are those who knowingly enter dangerously frigid water wearing nothing but bathing suits. Johan’s mission, however, was far more important than an entertaining dip in the water…
Soon enough, Johan found himself adjusting to the water’s temperature. Sure, the suit he was wearing prevented much of the cold from affecting him, but when dealing with temperatures near freezing, nothing will entirely keep the cold out.
It took Johan a few minutes to adjust to the water, but once he was ready, he slowly maneuvered his body onto his back. This was the position he was going to take for his journey, and there was a very specific reason why…
The specialized suit that Johan was wearing was popular among sailors and others who spent much of their time on the ocean. When the person wearing it flipped onto their back, the suit acted like an insulated flotation device, which is exactly what Johan needed.
As Johan floated, he paddled both of his arms back towards his ship. He still had no idea what he was going to find, but if it was an animal, he didn’t want to startle it…
Slowly but surely, Johan made his way closer to the aft end of the HSC Gotlandia II. Once he arrived, he flipped over onto his stomach and reached his hand up to a ledge that wasn’t visible from the dock. What was he about to grab?
Within seconds of Johan reaching onto the back ledge, he came floating out on his back with a small animal resting on his chest. It wasn’t immediately apparent what it was, but soon, people were in shock…
It was a cat! He didn’t seem to be injured, but he was clearly frazzled by the entire ordeal. The feline was lucky someone spotted him; it had no way of getting onto the dock without the assistance of a human.
Once Johan got close enough, he tossed the cat onto the dock with one swift motion. The frazzled feline seemed to understand he was finally safe on land thanks to his human hero!
The suit Johan was wearing did its job, and the frigid waters didn’t inhibit him from making sure he completed his task. Of course, Johan wasn’t a man to give up, and either way, he would have ensured the cat’s safe return.
The cat, slightly disoriented, hung around the dock for a short time before finally wandering off into the town of Visby. Johan thought about adopting the little guy, but if the cat belonged to a town resident, he didn’t want to strip them of their incredibly lucky pet.
They say cats have nine lives, and this guy certainly spent one, if not more, clinging to the back of Johan’s ferry! If it wasn’t for the people on the dock who saw him, he most likely would not have lived to enjoy another day catching mice!