Russian Girl Jumps into Turbulent River to Complete 'Blue Whale' Suicide Challenge (Video)
Three young men in Russia’s south risked their lives to rescue a 15-year-old girl who jumped into a turbulent mountainous river as part of a controversial social media suicide game dubbed the ‘Blue Whale’ challenge.
The incident occurred on Saturday in the Republic of Kabardino-Balkaria in the Russian Caucasus, local website Kavkazsky Uzel reported.
Video footage from the scene shows the three friends spotting the girl descending towards the river on the opposite bank and then shouting, “Stop. Stay right there. Wait.” The girl ignored their calls, however, and leapt into the water.
The three teens followed her into the dangerous river and dragged her ashore.
She later told her rescuers that she performed the stunt as part of the challenge from the ‘Blue Whale’ social media game which has been linked to a string of teenage suicides in Russia.
When asked if she was aware that her actions could have led to her death, the girl replied “yes” and laughed.
She also explained in the video that she got involved with the ‘Blue Whale’ game because “it’s cool… It’s adrenalin.”
The girl was examined by an ambulance crew and police in Kabardino-Balkaria have launched an inquiry into the incident.
Another suicide attempt, also linked to the ‘Blue Whale’ game was prevented in the neighboring Republic of Ingushetia earlier in May, local media reported.
In that incident, police managed to save a 12-year-old girl in the town of Karbulak just hours before she was to receive a phone call from the game’s “curator” to take her own life, the Gazetaingush newspaper reports.
The ‘Blue Whale’ challenge made headlines last year after an article in Novaya Gazeta claimed that at least 130 teenagers in Russia were prompted to commit suicide by closed social media groups.
Vulnerable teenagers are allegedly being contacted by the game’s ‘curator’ on the internet and manipulated into completing a number of stunts over the course of 50 days.
The challenges involve various forms of anti-social behavior, self-harm and allegedly culminate in the supervisor demanding the player to take their own life.
The teens are told to send videos and photos as proof that they have completed their tasks.
The ‘Blue Whale’ game has been linked to several teenage suicides in recent months, including the deaths of Veronika Volkova, 16, and Yulia Konstantinova, 15, in the Irkutsk Region in February.