Russian dam disaster death toll reaches 26

Russian dam disaster death toll reaches 26
# 21 August 2009 07:57 (UTC +04:00)
Baku -APA. The death toll from the catastrophic flood that engulfed Russia’s biggest hydroelectric power station rose to 26 Thursday but 49 people were still reported missing, Ria Novosti quoted officials as saying.

Some 2,000 rescue experts were working on the search and salvage effort round the clock to clear the rubble and drain water in an effort to locate survivors, AFP reported.

Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin visited the site to acquaint himself with the rescue operation firsthand at the plant and assess the situation with power supplies in the region.

The catastrophe is believed to have been triggered when a technical problem caused a massive surge of water to erupt into the turbine hall, engulfing around 100 workers.

Monday’s shutdown of the Sayano-Shushenskaya plant, built in 1978, has caused a severe energy shortfall in the region, forcing local factories to turn to temporary supplies. The accident destroyed three and badly damaged another two out of a total of 10 power-generating units at the plant.

RusHydro, the plant’s owner, has said the damage could take up to two years to repair, and Energy Minister Sergei Shmatko estimated the cost could run to at least 40 billion rubles ($1.2 billion).
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