February 3, 2023

Athens News

News in English from Greece

“I feel like my hands were cut off”: testimonies of a guy who unsuccessfully dived for a cross

From his hospital bed, a 22-year-old young man was interviewed, who was injured in Phthiotis when, during a baptismal ceremony, he dived into the sea for a cross.

Yannis Kallergis broke his arms and injured his neck vertebrae when he jumped into the sea to catch the Epiphany cross. This happened in the place Skala Teologu in Malezin.

“I feel like my hands have been cut off,” the young man says. He can barely move his fingers, which is the only movement he can make, he tells LIVE NEWS while chained to a hospital bed with splints on both arms. “The operation was done below the elbow,” he adds. The operation on the right hand lasted seven hours. A few hours later they operated on his left arm. When diving (and it was very shallow there), his hands reached the bottom, and his elbows literally turned outward.

The traditional ceremony was performed on January 6 at Epiphany (Baptism) at about 10:00 am. The priest threw the cross into the sea from the pier and Giannis (being a visitor, not a local), poorly knowing the coast and the depth of the seabed, without thinking about it, dived. “I was the only one who dived. The rest (locals) knew that there was a small depth and just jumped into the water. It was so shallow that my twisted elbows were visible above the water,” he explains.

“My son was lucky that he hit the bottom with his hands. Because if he hit the bottom with his head, then he would not be alive now, ”says the guy’s father. In a state of shock, Giannis stood up after hitting the bottom. And it became clear that the waves barely reached his knees … His arms hung like whips and it seemed that they were paralyzed. After a few steps, he loses consciousness and falls into the sea. The eerie scene, which had many witnesses, causes panic. People rushed into the sea to save the guy, to pull him out of the water.

Two doctors, who were at the right time in the right place, provided first aid to the victim, who had numerous injuries. And although EKAV was immediately called, the ambulance arrived after 1.5 hours (!). Semi-conscious Giannis was taken from the Medical Center to Lamia Hospital. And after his condition stabilized, a few hours later he was transferred to one of the private hospitals in Athens, where he remains to this day.

His father, a guardian angel, is next to his son 24 hours a day, as the guy cannot even drink water on his own. “To the residents of Malezina, one “thank you” is not enough. They brought blankets, water, sleeping bags. I also thank the doctors who ended up in the area,” says the father. However, he complains to LIVE NEWS that none of the state bodies that organized the baptismal ceremony contacted them even on a human level.

Doctors remain optimistic about the young man, believing that in order to restore his functionality take at least four months. What can I say … The Greeks sometimes behave like small children, mindlessly following customs, forgetting about everything in the world, even as adults. Catching a cross for Baptism in the sea, in their opinion, means that “God will grant grace and patronage for the whole next year. However, let’s be realistic.

Some time ago, newspapers wrote that a guy from Crete, who caught a cross, died in a terrible accident already in May. As Athens News wrote earlier, two men died in a traffic accident on the Rethymno-Chania national road. And another participant in the accident, a girl, was seriously injured. According to cretapost.gr, the 21-year-old motorcycle driver, for unknown reasons, entered the opposite traffic flow and crashed into another motorcycle, after which both vehicles collided with a passing car. The result of the collision was the death of a guy, and a little later, after admission to the hospital, the 51-year-old driver of the second motorcycle died. A girl-passenger, who was traveling with him, was also hospitalized in the Chania hospital. The driver of the car was not injured.

As mentioned by local media, referring to the stories of people who knew the guy, they still “can’t come to their senses and believe what happened.” As it became known, a young man pulled a cross out of the water at Epiphany (which, according to tradition, is a “happy amulet” for himself and his family). But despite this, the guy, after just a few months, dies in an accident … The Holy Cross did not help …

As mentioned by local media, referring to the stories of people who knew the guy, they still “can’t come to their senses and believe what happened.” As it became known, a young man pulled a cross out of the water at Epiphany (which, according to tradition, is a “happy amulet” for himself and his family). But despite this, the guy, after just a few months, dies in an accident … The Holy Cross did not help …



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