A team of Russian geographers took winter swimming to an extreme last Friday. In a record-breaking dive, the head of the Russian Geographical Society sunk to the bottom of Lake Labynkyr in Siberia, one of the coldest lakes in the world, RIA Novosti reports, where air temperatures regularly hit minus 50 degrees Celsius. The team hopes to get its name in the Guinness Book of World Records for the stunt.
In addition to breaking records for cold dives, the geographers sought to follow up on mysterious discoveries of past years. Though no one is known to have ever entered the lake before, Labynkyr has been remotely explored with echo-sounders and probes. Sonars revealed unusually large objects in the lake, but scientists could not figure out what they were based on echolocation alone.
Locals in the nearby village of Oymyakon—which has a population of around 500 and is the coldest permanently inhabited settlement in the world—have their own ideas of what those objects could be. An old legend claims that Labynkyr is home to a Loch Ness-like water monster called “the devil” by nearby villagers.
According to the Voice of Russia, the team reported finding jaws and skeletal remains of a large animal with their underwater scanner, though these claims are not yet confirmed.
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