Wall collapse blamed on "irregularities"

By Richard High07 October 2008

The fatal collapse of a wall at a school in Belyayevka in the Orenburg Region of the Urals, Russia has been blamed on "irregularities in construction and maintenance work", according to a statement by local government officials.

Russian news agency RIA Novosti reported that five children were killed on October 1 when the supporting wall failed, causing a three-story section of the school to collapse. Four other people, including three pupils, were injured.

"At a conference with government members, the governor specified a number of reasons for the tragedy. According to preliminary information, irregularities in construction and improper maintenance led to the degradation of the [supporting] structures," said the statement by local government officials.

The statement also accused the school's administration of violating a ban on construction work during term time. "This is confirmed by the fact that the school signed a contract for renovation work on August 29, two days before the start of the academic year," said the statement, quoting regional governor, Alexei Chernyshev.

According to RIA Novosti, Mr Chernyshev also criticized education officials over their lack of control of renovation work at the region's schools.

The investigation into the collapse will continue, said the report, following the removal of "bricks, sand and other construction materials". The results of the investigation are expected to be made public "as soon as possible".

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