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Old 4th Oct 2004, 20:15
  #94 (permalink)  
The Cooler King
Join Date: Feb 2004
Location: In the Desert
Posts: 1,644
policepilot - i think it's just urban legend.....

...... a Japanese fishing boat had been sunk by a falling cow in the Sea of Okhotsk off the Eastern coast of Siberia. The shipwrecked crew were plucked from the sea, claiming that cows had fallen from the sky and one of them had gone straight through the deck and hull, capsizing the vessel. The fishermen were arrested for suspected marine insurance fraud, but freed after Russian and Japanese investigators found out that the story was true. Russian soldiers based on the island of Sakhalin had used a army transport plane to rustle a herd of cattle. Once airborne, the cattle moved about the aircraft, throwing it off balance. To avoid crashing, the crew drove them out of the large loading bay at the tail of the aircraft at 20,000 ft (6,000m).

According to Andrew Gimson's report from Berlin for the Daily Telegraph, a German diplomat sent an account of the incident to Bonn to illustrate the appalling state of air safety in Russia. His fax stated that he heard the story from the "well informed" Moscow representative of the American Federal Aviation Authority. The Daily Mail and the Express said the report came by e-mail to the German embassy on 28 April from one of its consulates in eastern Russia. The Scotsman, meanwhile, claimed that Reuters had traced the story to a Russian television comedy series 18 months ago called Peculiarities of the Hunt. The falling cow was then written up in Pravda in its urban legends column, and from there made its way to the Internet, where it was mentioned in The Scotsman's humorous report on the Darwin awards before being sent to the German embassy in Moscow, who took it seriously (the implication being that Germans lack a sense of humour).

All these journalists have a very short memory. The folklorist Jan Harold Brunvand was sent the story from the Moscow News in 1990 - or possibly even earlier. In this version, there was only one cow and one surviving fisherman, and the latter was sent to a mental hospital rather than to prison. This was reported in the Columbus Dispatch in Ohio on 17 Sept 1990
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