|Editions | myCNN | Video | Audio | Headline News Brief | Feedback||
Bodies recovered from Moscow TV tower fire
MOSCOW -- The bodies of two people killed in a fire in Moscow's Ostankino television tower were recovered from an elevator on Monday, according to Russian officials.
Firefighter Vladimir Artyukov and lift operator Svetlana Loseva were found soon after emergency services had won a 26-hour battle to put out the blaze in the world's second-tallest tower.
Officials would not say if they expected to discover further fatalities.
The ministry said the cabin containing the bodies had been seriously damaged after plunging from an unspecified height and as a result it was not immediately possible to identify the bodies.
The lift is currently sitting in a pool of water about seven meters below ground level. It was one of four that carried passengers 350 metres (1,100 feet) up the 540 metre-high tower but the other lifts were found to be empty.
Twice the size of the Eiffel Tower and a once-proud landmark on the Moscow skyline, the smouldering building was listing visibly on Monday prompting fears for the stability of the building.
Putin: Fire is an indictment
Russian President Vladimir Putin described the blaze -- coming soon after the devastating bomb blast in a Moscow walkway and the loss of the 118-strong crew of the nuclear-powered submarine Kursk -- as an indictment of the state of the nation.
The fire is believed to have started after a short circuit in wiring belonging to a paging company.
Visitors were quickly evacuated from the tower's Seventh Heaven restaurant and observation deck, which were engulfed several hours later as the fire moved down the structure.
Vyacheslav Mulishkin, first deputy director of the Russian Fire Service, said on Monday that temporary firewalls of asbestos placed 70 metres (231ft) up the tower had stopped the fire from spreading.
But he said bundles of steel support cables running up the middle of the tower had been damaged, possibly threatening the structure.
At the height of the blaze, flames engulfed the top section of the tower, from between the peak to beneath the rotating restaurant.
Rescue workers and officials said that the mesh of steel wires forming the skeleton of the tower had been damaged and the heat was so intense it had buckled staircases.
Automatic firefighting systems within the tower appeared to have failed or had run out of fire-suppressing foam, they added, and at least two elevators are known to have been damaged.
Putin told a Cabinet meeting on Monday: "This emergency highlights what condition vital facilities, as well as the entire nation, are in.
"We should not fail to see major problems behind this accident, should not forget the economy."
"It will decide whether such accidents will be possible in future. We must fight methodically for economic success."
Interior Ministry spokesman Yevgeny Ryabtsev told Reuters: "So far there is no danger of a collapse. Everything is standing -- for now."
Fire has tilted tower
But Vladimir Aleksin, a Moscow city surveyor, said the tower's upper spire had tilted slightly, and that the tip of the structure was off-centre by about two metres.
Prosecutors opened an investigation on Monday into whether criminal negligence was responsible for the fire, the Interfax news agency reported.
The fire broke out at 3:20 p.m. local time (1120 GMT) on Sunday about 100 metres above the 340-metre-high (1,095ft) viewing platform and restaurant.
It was reported on Monday that flames had spread down along cables running through the tower and were 100 metres (330ft) from the ground.
"Firemen had to flee the fire raging in the shaft," the commercial NTV network said.
The Ostankino tower was completed in 1967 and was the world's highest tower until Toronto's CN Tower was constructed.
Reuters contributed to this report.
Fire rages in Moscow's giant TV tower
Ostankino Tower (in Russian)
|Back to the top||
© 2001 Cable News Network. All Rights Reserved.|
Terms under which this service is provided to you.
Read our privacy guidelines.