A Russian man died after burying himself alive in a friend's garden in the Far Eastern city of Blagoveshchensk in an endurance test that went wrong, an investigator has told AFP.
"According to his friend, the man, 35, wanted to test his endurance and insistently asked his friend to help him spend the night buried," said Alexei Lubinsky, a senior aide to the region's chief investigator.
The two men dug a hole in the garden and put inside an improvised coffin with holes for air pipes. The man also took a blanket, a bottle of water and a cell phone.
The victim's friend told investigators he covered the hole with planks and earth to a depth of around 20 centimetres and then went home, after receiving a phone call from his friend telling him he was fine. The next morning, he found his friend dead.
Lubinsky speculated that a rainstorm overnight could have blocked the air supply to the coffin.
"We know that the victim was a computer programmer and that he has a small child," Lubinsky said, adding that he probably was influenced by reading stories about self-burial on the Internet.
In a bizarre trend, numerous Russian bloggers write of undergoing supervised self-burial and state newspaper Rossiiskaya Gazeta even ran a feature on the practice.
Last summer a resident of the northern Vologda region died after he asked a friend to bury him in the forest in an attempt to lose his fear of death and was crushed by the earth, investigators said.