Shavarsh Karapetyan (Armenian: Շավարշ Կարապետյան, born 1953 in Vanadzor) used his open water swimming skills for the ultimate good.
The Soviet Armenian finswimmer received the Honored Master of Sports of the USSR and was a 10-time finswimming champion, but the world and European champion finswimmer is best known for his heroism in the open water.
In 1976 in Yerevan, Armenia, he saved the lives of 20 people who were trapped in a bus that was sinking in a lake.
While on a 20 km training run, he heard a horrific sound and immediately rushed to a sinking bus with 92 passengers in the dam. Karapetyan swam to it and, despite the lack of visibility in the water, he broke the back window with his legs. He ended up rescuing 20 survivors, although he withdrew more from the wreckage who did not survive.
The combined effect of cold water and the multiple wounds he received as he was going in and out of the cracked bus window left him unconscious for 45 days.
He awoke a greatly beloved hero.
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