Warning: The following video may contains images that some viewers may find upsetting
A mother-of-two who jumped through an ice hole in a frozen river to mark Orthodox Epiphany was swept away, presumed dead, by strong currents in front of her screaming children.
A deeply distressing video shows the woman, 40, plunge into the Oredezh River near Vyra, a village south of St Petersburg, Russia, on Wednesday.
There was immediate panic after the woman, understood to be a lawyer from St Petersburg, was pulled beneath the ice by a powerful current of around 10ft a second.
Alexander Zuyev, head of VOSVOD emergency rescue service, criticised the placing of the ice hole at a point where the river had a strong current.
He said: ‘The woman went for a plunge in a location where there are no rescuers or appropriate lighting in an unsuitable ice hole.
‘It is one of the most dangerous rivers in the Leningrad region and people drown in it every year, even in summer.’