Google Maps removes suggested Road of Bones route after driver dies at -50 oC
Google Maps has removed the proposed Road of Bones route to Russia after a Russian driver froze to -50 oC and died.
Google is now advising motorists who want to travel from the Russian city of Yakutsk to Magadan and vice versa, to add another three hours to their journey, following a different route, since two motorists who followed its previous advice Google Maps died on an abandoned road, at -50 Celsius.
Google Maps removes abandoned Road of Bones route recommendation after Russian driver freezes to DEATH near coldest town on Earth https://t.co/vSd2o29pXp
- RT (@RT_com) December 13, 2020
After a weekly search, the body of an 18-year-old was found in a snow-covered car on an unused highway near Oymyakon, the coldest permanent settlement in the world. Miraculously, his partner survived and was taken to a nearby hospital where he was treated for frostbite. The radiator in their vehicle had a malfunction.
Google Maps had previously advised drivers to take the so-called Road of Bones, which, according to local sources, has not been used for years. Although it technically offers a more direct route, reducing driving time between Yakutsk and Magadan to 31 hours instead of 34, the lack of road services, such as snow clearing and almost no traffic, makes it extremely dangerous in emergencies, especially winter.
A road of bones. The Kolyma Highway in eastern Siberia once delivered tens of thousands of prisoners to the work camps of Stalin's gulag. The ruins of that barbaric era are still visible today, though the elements are slowly erasing them. https://t.co/Jn0EFiJBn3 pic.twitter.com/wc6f05Kigf
- The New York Times (@timestimes) November 22
Our story comes from the Russian agency RT. In Russia, Google's navigation software is less popular than Russian Yandex Maps and Navigator. These two applications have about 50 million monthly users. Many believe that they offer much better local knowledge than the US technology giant. In fact, some Twitter users say that this incident serves as another proof why drivers should use "only Yandex Maps in Russia!"
Officially named the Kolyma Highway, the "Bone Road" earned its formidable name as it was built using prisoners in forced labor, and thousands died during its construction during the Soviet era.
The teens found themselves in an area of 420 kilometers known as Old Summer Road, which was deserted. The area is known as an extreme challenge for motorcyclists and adventurers looking for four-wheeled thrills.