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You couldn't make it up.
Being a paradiver, he decided to help out, so without hesitation he cast himself out of the wheelchair and into the water to aid the effort to rescue the stricken swimmer.
He began by shouting some instructions to the two people in the water, but when it became clear that it wasn't going to work, he undressed himself and diving into the Black Sea.
Incidentally, Mr Vankov is Russia's first certified paradiver and swims and dives for a living.
Floating on his back, he made a beeline for the others before grabbing the man who was struggling and wrapping his arms around his neck.
Before too long, a boat arrived at the scene and helped all four of the men to get to safety.
Perhaps the most bizarre thing about this whole incident is that Mr Vankov was visiting the pier alongside a film crew in order to tell the story of how he became paralysed after jumping into the water 13 years ago and fracturing three of the vertebrae in his spine.
Vankov later shared the video on his Instagram page, writing: "Never in my life could I have thought that I would find myself in a direct situation of human salvation!"
He went on to explain that the two men who were in the water had been attempting to rescue the struggling man for some time, and if he hadn't joined in, they might have ended up struggling as well as they were suffering with cramp.
Vankov paid tribute to the guys for trying to help the stricken man. He added: "All are alive and well, the guys are great fellows, that at the cost of their own health they heroically saved a person!!!
"Such is the story, once I was on this pier 13 years ago crawling along the bottom and repeating the phrase 'I will live, I will live', and today I saved a person there!"
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