Bizarre death of sweet plant worker in boiling caramel triggers probe
Identified in the Russian media as Natalia Nemets, 36, the woman worked at the Slavyanka sweet factory in the town of Stary Oskol, located some 600km (370 miles) south of Moscow in the Belgorod Region.
Natalia was working at the factory’s cooking department when something in her daily routine went horribly wrong. At some point, the woman vanished from her coworkers’ sight, and moments later, witnesses allegedly saw her legs sticking out of the tank with boiling sweet mass, the Komsomolskaya Pravda daily reports.
The woman died on the scene from thermal burns, according to the Russian Investigative Committee in the Belgorod region which launched a criminal probe into the tragedy Wednesday.
The incident itself occurred last Friday, according to the investigators’ statement, but it took days for anonymous accounts to reach the media.
Investigators say Natalia was overlooking the factory’s “mix machine,” which steered hot substance with rotating blades and fell into the container while on duty. Details of the incident remain unclear, with media speculating that Natalia might have lost her consciousness in the hot room or slipped and fell.
It is alleged that others in the room did not hear neither screams, nor noise when that happened.
The news soon triggered a number of reports critical of the factory’s safety standards. Initial reports on Russian social network Vkontakte cited a source as claiming the woman’s coworkers were told not to report the incident or risk losing their jobs.
Ren TV channel then interviewed a local woman who claimed that “three people were crushed under some conveyor, with one dead and another left without fingers” at the same factory.
Natalia leaves behind a young son, suffering diabetes, and her elderly mother, she added.