Military training center partially collapses in Siberia, 23 dead

Photo by Maria Povarenko
The roof and walls of a military training center have partially collapsed in the Russian city of Omsk, killing at least 23 people.

The Russian Ministry of Defense reports that 23 people have died after the roof of the barracks of the 242nd Training Centre of the Airborne Forces in the village of Svetliy on the outskirts of Omsk collapsed on Sunday evening.

Forty-two soldiers were rescued from the rubble. At least nineteen remain in hospital.

A special Russian Ministry of Defense commission has arrived in Omsk to investigate the incident.

The partial caving-in of the roof happened in the absence of an explosion or fire, a source in the police said, as quoted by TASS.

According to preliminary data, violations in construction procedure during repairs have been named as a possible cause of the collapse, RIA Novosti reported, citing rescue services.

Authorities have deployed more than 900 specialists in the aid and rescue operations, along with 21 units of heavy machinery. Canine units are also aiding the rescue effort. Civilian medical personnel from Moscow arrived to help local military medics deal with the tragedy.

Konashenkov said the ministry had set up a “special medical detachment” with five teams of physicians and specialized equipment to treat the victims.

In the wake of the incident, Russia’s defense minister ordered the inspection of all building facilities belonging to the ministry in Omsk.

Russia’s Chief Military Prosecutor Sergey Fridinsky has arrived at the scene of the tragedy, Interfax reported.

The Russian Investigative Committee is checking all causes of the incident, including the possible defects made during the overhaul of the building, spokesman Vladimir Markin said.

The center was built in 1975 and its major overhaul was in 2013, he added.

Russian SOGAS insurance group said it will pay each family of the victim about 5.8 million rubles ($1million).