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Google Maps Changes Route On Road After Driver Freezes To Death In -50C Temperatures

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Google Maps Changes Route On Road After Driver Freezes To Death In -50C Temperatures

Google Maps has rapidly changed its recommended routing on one of the world's most notorious roads after a man froze to death in -50C temperatures.

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A day after the story was revealed, the internet giant updated its advice to drivers on the infamous 'Road of Bones' in Siberia.

This follows the death of Sergey Ustinov, 18, who was marooned with a friend for almost a week after obeying instructions from Google Maps, according to law enforcement.

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His friend Vladislav Istomin, also 18, remains in hospital with acute frostbite as medics seek to save his life.

The pair's sat nav left them stuck on a short cut which led to a road that has been disused since the 1970s when the Soviet Union still existed.

The radiator of their Toyota Chaser was damaged by a wooden spike and they could neither move nor summon help.

The car they were driving became stuck. Credit: East2West News
The car they were driving became stuck. Credit: East2West News
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They built fires to stay warm in the blistering Siberian cold, with temperatures plunging to minus 50C, yet had not taken deep winter clothes on their journey.

Ustinov died, and his friend was close to death when found by a policemen searching for the missing men.

The pair had been driving from the world's coldest city Yakutsk to the Pacific port of Magadan, on the R504 Kolyma highway - also known as the Road of Bones - which was built in the Josef Stalin era (which spanned 1927-53) by political prisoners. A quarter of a million people died during its construction.

Sergey Ustinov (pictured) died. Credit: East2West News
Sergey Ustinov (pictured) died. Credit: East2West News
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The route on Yandex Maps - a Russian provider - showed a distance of 1,900 km (1,180 miles) on the Kolyma federal highway through Ust-Nera.

But Google Maps - which they used - offered a shorter option of 1,733 km (1,076 miles) across snow covered territory. Searches today show that Google Maps now recommends the same route as on Yandex.

Nadezhda Dvoretskaya, an Investigative Committee official, said: "A policeman went to Tomtor, because there was information that they were seen there.

"He started searching with two local residents, and at night they found the car. The men tried to keep warm, and burned a tyre. But apparently, they couldn't make a big fire. And they couldn't remove the rest of the tyres."

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Vladislav Istomin remains in hospital. Credit: East2West News
Vladislav Istomin remains in hospital. Credit: East2West News

The men had earlier driven from Magadan to Yakutsk, and were on the return journey. Locals were shocked that they had no warm clothes with them for the deep Siberian winter.

One nearby resident said: "They were city guys. That's why they wore trainers. Now it is very cold here, not yet minus 60C but at night and in the morning it reaches minus 57C, and during the day it warms up to minus 51C."

Normally single cars do not venture out in winter here - they go in pairs in case one breaks down.

Featured Image Credit: East2West News

Topics: World News, Russia

Rebecca Shepherd
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