Rescuers continue their effort in Karmadon Gorge

Emergencies Ministry rescuers will remain in the Karmadon Gorge, North Ossetia /a Russian republic in the North Caucasus/ to continue working "along the full length of the glacier," Russian Emergencies Minister Sergei Shoigu told journalists on Friday.

"It is necessary not only to search for victims' bodies but also to keep an eye on the flood situation," said the minister, reminding the assembly that the river was right beneath the glacier, washing part of it away. "The rescuers will be controlling the melting of the glacier and its movements," he remarked.

Shoigu recalled that the North Ossetian government had made a decision earlier in the day to discontinue the search effort in the Karmadon tunnel, where people could have allegedly hidden while trying to escape Kolka Glacier that was coming down on Karmadon. The equipment used in the effort was already being pulled out of the tunnel, Shoigu reported.

Commenting on the decision made by volunteers to carry on works inside the tunnel, Shoigu said he could understand what the relatives were feeling. He stressed nevertheless that in case any fatalities occurred during the search effort, the volunteers would be held responsible.

More than 100 people died in the Karmadon Gorge when Kolka Glacier descended on it on September 20, 2002.

Shoigu also said it was necessary to tighten security measures for people entering mountainous areas. In Europe, everyone who goes out into the mountains wears a so-called "avalanche bracelet," he said.

Of the people trapped under avalanches in Kabardino-Balkaria and Karachai-Circassia /North Ossetia/, 37 are still reported missing, Shoigu told journalists. 16 more went missing in similar circumstances near the river Belukha in Altai, Siberia.

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