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How Fables and Legends Get Started:
Lake Vanishes
Article Submitted by Yuri Klitsenko, Russia

MOSCOW, May 19 (Reuters) - A Russian village was left baffled on Thursday after its lake disappeared overnight.

NTV television showed pictures of a giant muddy hole bathed in summer sun, while fishermen from the village of Bolotnikovo looked on disconsolately.

"It is very dangerous. If a person had been in this disaster, he would have had almost no chance of survival. The trees flew downwards, under the ground," said Dmitry Zaitsev, a local Emergencies Ministry official interviewed by the channel.

Officials in Nizhegorodskaya region, on the Volga river east of Moscow, said water in the lake might have been sucked down into an underground water-course or cave system, but some villagers had more sinister explanations.

"I am thinking, well, America has finally got to us," said one old woman, as she sat on the ground outside her house.

* * *

The landscape on the forest edge near the village looks like the water has gone under the ground from an unplugged gigantic bathtub.

A large lake disappeared in Russia's Nizhni Novgorod region overnight.

Residents of the village of Bolotnikovo discovered a huge trench instead of a million cubic meters of water on Thursday morning. No other lake appeared in the area.

There are only 300 meters between the lake and the village, Russian NTV channel reports. The landscape on the forest edge near the village looks like the water has gone under the ground from an unplugged gigantic bathtub. Village residents asked Russia's emergency services for help.

Specialists arrived at the site of the incident and examined the bottom of the lake seeking possible victims. Luckily, there were no people near the lake when it was virtually emptied. Dmitry Zaitsev, the chief of the local firefighting brigade, said that a large number of trees had been sucked under the ground. "If a human being finds himself in the middle of such a disaster, there will be no chances for a person to survive," Zaitsev said.

Local residents were shocked to find out that their lake had literally vanished from the area. Village fishermen came to the lake early in the morning. "I was amazed to see that there was no water there. All I could think of was - oh, my God," a local resident said. One of the men assumed that the USA had been involved in such an amazing natural phenomenon: "I think that America got us here," a man said.

An official from a neighboring village, Alexander Kluyev, believes that the lake has flown into an underground river. "I think that the vault of a large underground cave came down and connected with a river there. We believe that there is a certain underground river flowing here in the area, and the water of the lake has gone under the ground," said he.

Officials from the regional administration said that several houses went under the ground in the village of Bolotnikovo 70 years ago.

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Yuri Klitsenko is a Russian living in Moscow.  He works for the Russian Orthodox Church.

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