Russian investigators have launched a criminal case following the deaths of 10 workers who died of suspected methane poisoning whilst cleaning a sewage plant in the village of Dmitriadovka near Taganrog on the Black Sea, 1000 km south of Moscow.
Authorities confirmed that a further 8 workers were hospitalised as a result of the incident on 21 May at a pumping station for raw sludge.
Russia’s Investigative Committee, which is responsible for examining major crimes, is looking into the case to determine if the water treatment plant breached any industrial safety rules.
According to the state-run RIA Novosti news agency, accidents during water and sewage collector repairs are common, but rarely result in so many casualties. Many such incidents are due to non-compliance with safety standards or ageing infrastructure.
"There are no exact answers to questions about the causes of the tragedy. What happened today is a real misfortune that has not happened before in Taganrog. On behalf of the city, I express my deep condolences, sympathy, and support to all the relatives of the victims" said Inna Titarenko, Chairman of the Taganrog Duma.
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