Baikonur accident shall not affect fulfilment of Russian space programs

The Baikonur accident shall not affect the fulfilment of Russian space programs, assured Rosaviakosmos press secretary Sergei Gorbunov, appearing in a live broadcast on Russia's RTR TV channel. The equipment stored in the wrecked hangar has been out of use for more than a decade, he said. The accident happened on May 12, when a construction brigade was doing repairs on the roof of an assembly-and-test building. The roof collapsed, burying 8 workmen under the debris. According to the press secretary, three bodies have already been extracted from under the wreck by rescuers from the emergencies ministry. The other five are still missing. Gorbunov said there were several versions of what had caused the accident, including one about a "wind overload." Besides, the hangar in question was used to store large fuel tanks of the Energiya-Buran type. If something fell on one of these tanks during repair works and wrecked it, the tank could have hit the wall and caused the roof to collapse. But that is just a suggestion, Gorbunov said.

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