Exactly 40 years ago a swimmer-diver Shavarsh Karapetyan saved 46 people – he pulled them out of the trolley that crashed into a lake. “StarHit” to find out what personal tragedy happened to the hero.
His body it’s like being burned with ice water, but it was cold sweat. Waking up and falling asleep again in his delirium from high temperature, Shavarsh Vladimirovich felt the hand holding his beloved Nellie. Which means he’s still able to compete. In February this year, hero of the Soviet Union was in a hospital bed for almost a month, the doctors fought for his life.”I always knew, nothing goes unnoticed – says “StarHit” Karapetyan. – That’s pneumonia, which I earned then during the rescue operation, let them know about yourself after all these years. After the incident, when it hit me hypothermia, I was young, and now the respectable age of 63 years, everything feels much harder. But I’m not complaining, there was always the spouse, the children came every day.”
The price of fame
Gloomy autumn morning, 16 September 1976, a tenfold world champion in diving Shavarsh brother Kamo, also took place in the USSR national team, and coach Liparit Alaskanum have made her daily jog in a Park in the center of Yerevan. Suddenly they saw a terrible picture – full of passengers of the trolley that ran along the lake, fell into the water. Without wasting a minute, the athletes rushed to save people trapped in an iron box. 23-year-old Shavarsh took over the most difficult part of the operation down to a depth of 10 meters for the victims. For my first dive he broke the feet of glass, cut, lost a lot of blood, but not stopped. Brother and coach taking people to the shore.
“It was like a sports relay, later recalled Shavarsh Karapetyan. In 45 minutes we lifted from the bottom 46 of the 92 people! Service responded quickly and the hospital was nearby. But doctors managed to save only 20 of the victims.”
Everyone knew that if not for the outstanding physical data Karapetyan, the victims would be more. He tried to return in big sport, set another world, 11-th re cord in scuba diving – a distance of 400 metres he covered in just 3 minutes 6.2 seconds. But health problems were not allowed to continue his career.
About the heroism of the young Armenian Newspapers were silent for six years – incidents of this kind in the USSR did not advertise. Only in 1982, when Shavarsh flew as a guest to the world championship in diving in Moscow, the hero of the declassified. Soviet national team coach told reporters about the bold and reckless sportsman. Then his name flashed in the headlines, it thundered all over the country, awards subsequently longer fit in the closet, and their total weight was 70 kg.
Shavarsh long lamented that retired from the sport. For him in the first place has always been family. Soon after the incident, Karapetyan is married to the economist Nelly Sahakyan, got three kids, got a job as Deputy Director of the Enterprises of electronic industry. And in the days of perestroika, he moved to Moscow, where he engaged in business.
“In Armenia we have left the house where are my sports trophies, continues Shavarsh Vladimirovich. Unfortunately, the Pope did not last year – died of old age at 88 years of age. Mom died in 1992 from diabetes. Now for the family estate to care for CY stepmother. My brother Kamo, who the same day was with me, lives in Yerevan and works as a swimming coach. I regularly fly to the graves of parents.”
The loss of a brother
The life of Shavarsh Karapetyan is painted on minutes. “I get up at six in the morning,” he says. – Do exercises, go out for a run. Then swim in the lake near the house – and so to the first people. There was a time, even marieval. And this year sachkanul – probably, therefore, came down with the pneumonia.
The main pride of the company – his house is always clean and cozy. “My wife cooks so that otesh mind,” he says. – I sometimes swear on Nelly Rafikovna. Say: “What are you doing? I’m going to get fat”. Was never a skinny guy, and over the years became even stronger. I weigh approximately 120 kg.
Shavarsh Vladimirovich sure that children grew up healthy and smart thanks to his wife Nellie, who devoted herself to their upbringing. The eldest daughter, 32-year-old Lucene, works in a Bank. Average Zaruhi, she’s 31, a PR Manager. Married with two children, now in the decree. The only one of the heirs of the champion, who is busy imaeda scuba diving, 19 – year-old Tigran. Boy studying in the third year of the Institute Manager, and the rest of the time does not get out of the pool.
“I didn’t want to children the repetition of the way – sigh Karapetyan. But the desire was stronger than Tigran. He recently took first place in the club”.
Officially at Shavarsh Vladimirovich’s three children, but in fact six. For 13 years in his care are nephews IKE, Samvel and Hovhannes. They live in the German city of Coburg. “The boys were orphaned when my younger brother Anatoly and his wife Lyudmila died in a car accident, continues Karapetyan. They moved to Germany for the same reason that I am in Moscow. The death of a brother was a real tragedy for the whole family. But we tried to control myself, as it was necessary to raise children. Wrote the nanny from Yerevan, and she was deported two months later. Senior Samvel, he was then 19 years old, took care of all. Help and I consider them my sons. Regularly visit each other. At the end of the month IKE, he is a student, stayed in Moscow. Oganes high up – at 27 he is the Director of the factory floor for the production of seats for cars Mercedes-Benz”.
Shavarsh Karapetyan is trying to live like a normal person, feels mundane. The ones you saved, usually found on television programs. In recent years, goodbye to happen less and less. The fact that the average age of most of the Holocaust survivors at that time was 45 years, many have not. “I tried not to fumble them,” says Karapetyan. – The horror was there. Those who wanted, were out on bond. So it was with a woman named Theresa. She several times a year came to visit, always with gifts. Once the picture was handed over, and another gold ring! There’s quite uncomfortable I became. A year ago, I called Teresa home, wanted to see. The daughter said that she died. She was 80 years old.”
Now Shavarsh Vladimirovich directed to the embodiment of old dreams. He builds the Armenian stone house in New Moscow. After a couple of months Karapetyan is planning to call.
“This is the house of my soul, the hero. The cottage is one storey, but the big – six rooms for each family member. Close by the river. On a plot planted Apple, pear, cherry.” In one of the rooms Karapetyan will make “the room of fame, hang the medals on the wall. “It’s nice to be rewarded,” continues Shavarsh Karapetyan. – I became an honorary citizen of Russia. The international medical community has handed me a special robe for the salvation of men. But really warms the soul fact that people survived, and not what someone shook my hand and said thank you.”
Other feats of Shavarsh Karapetyan
Having studied the biography of the hero, it seems that he in some mysterious way, where is very necessary. Shavarsh Vladimirovich participated in the rescue of people.
Two years before the tragedy at the Yerevan lake, Karapetyan had witnessed another disaster. 8 January 1974 he returned with the sports facilities on the bus, which was more than thirty passengers, including athletes. On the rise, the driver noticed a problem with the motor, stopped the vehicle and got out. Suddenly the uncontrolled vehicle started and rolled down. Karapetyan were the closest to the cab driver. In an attempt to stop the movement and avoid falling into the gorge Shavarsh elbow broke through the glass wall that separated the cockpit from the cabin, reached for the steering wheel and sharply directed to the side of the mountain.
In February 1985, Shavarsh was at work in the office, suddenly saw the building in front of the raging flames. Burning sports and concert complex. He did not hesitate rushed to put out the fire together with the firefighters. Suffered burns and lost consciousness. First Karapetyan was even declared dead – not felt for a pulse. But doctors managed to save him.