13 killed, several missing in dam collapse at Siberian gold mine

Published October 19, 2019
This handout picture released by the Russian Emergency Situations Ministry on October 19, 2019, shows a flooding after a dam failure in a gold miners village close to the town of Shchetinkino, about 250 km from the city of Krasnoyarsk. — AFP
This handout picture released by the Russian Emergency Situations Ministry on October 19, 2019, shows a flooding after a dam failure in a gold miners village close to the town of Shchetinkino, about 250 km from the city of Krasnoyarsk. — AFP

At least 13 people were killed and about a dozen were missing after a dam collapsed at a gold mine in a remote Siberian settlement on Saturday, Russian authorities said.

The dam on the Seiba River in the Siberian region of Krasnoyarsk burst and flooded several cabins where the victims lived, Russian authorities said.

Officials said the dam had apparently been built in breach of safety rules and claimed that the authorities were not aware of its existence.

Investigators said they have opened a criminal probe into the breach of safety rules.

“As of now, there's information about 13 dead,” the emergencies ministry said in a statement.

In a separate statement, the regional authorities in Krasnoyarsk said 12 people had died and 13 more were missing.

Fourteen people were hospitalised, and three of them were in a grave condition, the regional health ministry said.

Regional governor Alexander Uss said in televised remarks that about 80 workers lived in the temporary settlement in the remote village of Shchetinkino located south of the city of Krasnoyarsk.

The settlement's total population is estimated at about 180.

A team of doctors including a neurosurgeon were dispatched to the scene from Krasnoyarsk, which is located some 4,000 kilometres east of Moscow.

Russian Health Minister Veronika Skvortsova was overseeing the delivery of aid to the injured.

A number of top regional officials including Uss, prosecutors and inspectors went to the scene of the tragedy.

The dam was built in violation of "every single norm", the head of the local government, Yury Lapshin, said in televised remarks.

The dam belonged to the Sibzoloto holding company which has not released any comment on the incident so far.

More than 270 people were involved in a search and rescue operation, the emergencies ministry said.

But the operation was challenging because of the remote location.

Deadly accidents are relatively common in Russia because of lax safety rules, bad management and Soviet-era infrastructure.

In 2009, 75 people were killed in a massive flood at Russia's biggest hydroelectric plant in the Khakassia region of Siberia.

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