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1 Oct, 2008 13:23

Five children die in school collapse

The collapsed school where five children died on Wednesday will be demolished. It is believed the tragedy occurred due to repairs that were taking place at the time. Friday has been declared a day of mourning in Russia’s Orenburg region.

Rescuers have evacuated more than 800 people from the three-storey building in Belyaevka village.

They do not exclude the possibility that people still remain trapped under the rubble, but it is known there are no children left there.

Four people were injured and have been taken to hospital.

“During the search and rescue operations, firemen, rescuers and police officers managed to rescue 11 people from under the rubble. As for the four people that have been taken to the local hospital, their lives are now out of danger,” said Vladislav Zubchenko from the local emergencies office.

Sixteen vehicles and more than one hundred staff are working at the site. They are clearing debris covering an area of 250 square metres.

The tragedy took place in the Orenburg region in the southern Urals, south-eastern Russia.

A representative of the local administration has announced further use of the school is impossible. A part of the front wall of the building from the first floor up to the third has collapsed.

“On Wednesday morning a group of workers were changing windows on the first floor of the school. After the old windows were dismantled, the school’s walls began cracking. The workers informed the principal and an evacuation started. The collapse happened during the evacuation,” said Timur Pishpanov, Deputy Prosecutor for the Belyaevsky district.
The school was built in 1964 and was never subjected to major reconstruction.

A criminal case has been launched into the incident.