Memorial to people buried alive under avalanching ice to be erected in North Ossetia

According to the North Ossetian Emergencies Ministry, the last member of the rescue team which has been searching for people buried alive in an avalanche from the Kolka icefield left the tent camp in the Karmadon gorge in North Ossetia (a North-Caucasian autonomous republic within the Russian Federation). The searches near the tunnel buried under a 70 meter-thick ice layer have been continued for 18 months.

In total, 116 people were killed by an avalanche there on September 20, 2002, including members of the film crew led by film-maker Sergei Bodrov Jr. According to an eye-witness, Bodrov and his film crew were in the tunnel when the ice was avalanching.

Now searches for the avalanche victims have been stopped completely. The tents and the drilling equipment used by rescuers to cut through the ice have been removed. A great number of icons brought by volunteers from all over Russia who took part in rescue operations has been presented to North Ossetian churches.

Only a dugout has been left intact in the tent camp. Konstantin Dzhaparov, a local resident who headed search operations for 18 months, told RIA Novosti that "the dugout will be preserved as a memorial to victims of unruly nature and a testimony of people's affection and fidelity." He also said that another memorial would be placed next to the dugout - a huge rock brought down by the avalanche.

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