Search-and-rescue operation in Magnitogorsk to continue after collapse risk managed
MOSCOW. Jan 1 (Interfax) - Rescuers are dismantling a wall in the residential building in Magnitogorsk rocked by a gas explosion for fear that it might collapse; the search-and-rescue operation will continue after this risk is managed, the press service of the Russian Emergency Situations Ministry told Interfax.
"The debris cleanup and the search will continue only after the threat of collapse is eliminated," the press service said.
The governmental commission made a detailed analysis of the building's condition based on its visual and instrumental examination and decided that hanging structures and a wall in the seventh section must be dismantled, it said.
"A real threat of a partial collapse emerged during the cleanup of debris. A wall in the seventh section is losing stability, and it is impossible to keep working under such circumstances," the press service quoted Emergency Situations Minister Yevgeny Zinichev as saying.
Specialists of the Russian Construction Ministry suggested that the dismantling start on upper stories and that rescuers gradually make their way down, the press service said.
The exclusion area was broadened by 40 meters for safety purposes, the press service said. "Rescuers will be lifted up in a crane bucket on the other side of the house so that they could cut off hanging structures. This is a difficult task, which requires strong attention and competence," Zinichev said.
According to the ministry, these works might take a whole day.
As of 7 a.m. Moscow time, 12 people have been removed from under the debris. Seven of them are dead (there are no children amongst the fatalities), and five, including one child, have survived. All the injured people have been taken to a hospital. Thirty-seven people are missing.