A man has cheated death after plunging a knife into his skull to help him breathe better.

Yury Zhokhov, 41, was found by police kneeling in a field with the eight inch kitchen blade buried in his head.

He claimed he wanted to make another hole in his skull because he could not breathe properly through his nose.

"My nose was not breathing. I pierced my head to breathe," he said.

Fully conscious

A law enforcement source in the Russian town of Donetsk in Rostov region said the man “was fully conscious" when they found him.

X-rays taken after he was rushed to hospital show how deeply the knife had pierced his head - with medics saying it was a “miracle” he had not killed himself or suffered acute brain damage.

Surgeons removed the knife and say the man is alive but in a “grave” condition because of the risk of infection.

The astonishing scene was filmed on a police video as shocked officers arrived at the scene and realised how at least five inches of the blade was embedded in the head of a man known locally as Yura.

Hard to breathe

“Who stuck it in you?” asked a bemused policeman who pleaded with the man not to try and move his head or the knife, fearing he would die immediately.

“My nose was not breathing. I pierced my head to breathe,” he said.

“So my head could breathe…but the knife stuck… and my head doesn’t breathe.”