As his sat-nav advised him to take a wrong turn on Russia’s infamous Road of Bones, a teenage boy died from extreme frostbite in -50C weather.
According to reports citing police investigators, the Google Maps directions sent Sergey Ustinov and friend Vladislav Istomin, both 18, to a disused shortcut in the coldest inhabited area in the world.
Because of the harsh weather, the “city guys” had not taken care and were easily frostbitten when a wooden spike on the old road destroyed their radiator.
In his Toyota Chaser, Ustinov was found frozen solid, while his friend was miraculously alive but suffering from acute hypothermia. With his arms and legs acutely frostbitten, medics are now working to save him.
“His condition is extremely grave, we are fighting for his life,” the doctor said.
The pair had been traveling from Yakutsk, the coldest city in the world, to the port of Magadan, on a highway known as the Road of Bones, designed by political prisoners during the Joseph Stalin period.
During its building, a quarter of a million individuals died.
A distance of 1,180 miles on the Kolyma Federal Highway via Ust-Nera was shown on the Yandex Maps route – a Russian alternative.
However, a shorter alternative of 1,076 miles across the snow-covered territory was provided by Google Maps, which the two friends used.
According to reports citing the inquiry, the road was abandoned in the 1970s.
They created a fire and burned tyres to keep warm after getting stuck on an abandoned lane. Obviously, they were unable to use their telephones to contact the emergency services.
When Ustinov died, it is unknown, but Istomin survived and was discovered by the police, who initiated a search after several days.
A policeman went to Tomtor because there was information that they had been seen there.
“He began searching with two local residents, and at night they found the car.”
She added: “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.”
The men had driven to Yakutsk from Magadan earlier and were on the return journey.
The locals were surprised that they did not have warm clothes with them for the deep Siberian winter.
“They were city guys,” a local said.
“That’s why they wore trainers. Now it is very cold here, not yet -60C but at night and in the morning it reaches -57C, and during the day it warms up to -51C.”
Normally, single cars never venture out here in winter – if one breaks down, they go in pairs.