Russian power blast toll rises

MOSCOW, Russia

Some 64 missing workers, trapped in one of Russia’s biggest power plants after an explosion, are almost certainly dead. Now relatives have been told the grim news.

Families gathered to hear officials say there is little hope for anyone caught in the flooded turbine hall. It is thought a transformer at the plant in Sayano-Sushenskaya exploded during repairs. 

One anxious woman said: “We don’t know anything. He is listed as missing.” Another added: “I don’t know what I will do.Three children and no father.”

The power plant was hailed as the jewel of Soviet engineering when it was launched in 1978 on Siberia’s Yenisei river. But the turbines had not been overhauled since Soviet times and there had been warnings from experts that things could go wrong.

The accident not only destroyed three of the station’s 10 power generating units but also caused an oil slick several kilometres long which has threatened wildlife.

Russia has been plagued for years by catastrophes linked to creaking Soviet-era infrastructure.

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