Sixty-four people missing after a flooding disaster at Russia's largest hydro-electric dam are most likely dead, its owner said on Tuesday, indicating a likely death toll far higher than the 12 confirmed so far.
"Finding anyone alive in the flood zone is unlikely, but the search continues," Vasily Zubakin, the chairman of state-run hydro-electricity company RusHydro, said through a spokesman.
He said 64 people were still unaccounted for after one of the turbine rooms flooded at the Sayano-Shushenskaya dam early on Monday.
The deputy chief physician at the local hospital said the death toll from the accident had risen to 12, up from a figure of ten given on Tuesday night by the emergencies ministry, RIA news agency reported.
"In our morgue we have 11 bodies that have already been identified by relatives. Another body has yet to be identified," the physician, Yury Pedchenko, told RIA.
Amateur video of the accident was posted overnight on Russian news Web site www.politonline.ru. It showed an explosion near the base of the dam amid a torrent of gushing water.
Three of the power plant's ten generating units were completely destroyed, Zubakin said on Monday, but Emergencies Minister Sergei Shoigu said there was no structural damage and no danger that the damn would burst.
RusHydro's shares remained suspended on Tuesday in Moscow after falling more than 15 percent in London on the previous day.
An investigation into the cause of the accident was under way, but analysts pointed to the larger problem of failing Russian infrastructure.
"The event once again points to the poor condition of the equipment and lack of investment in the sector," analysts at VTB Capital said in a note. "It could force the authorities to re-balance the key goals in the sector's outlook."
Last Mod: 18 Ağustos 2009, 16:40