Rescue work in Karmadon Gorge to be called off

In a telephone interview on Tuesday, Boris Dzgoyev, the deputy emergencies minister of North Ossetia (North Caucasus), said that work in the Karmadon Gorge would be called off in the near future.

He pointed out that a Russian Emergencies Ministry (MChS) commission had already concluded that there was no hope of finding any survivors in the tunnel that rescue workers had drilled their way down to. "However," he said, "an inter-departmental commission will continue its work on the glacier itself." The minister commented that the commission included MChS and Russian Academy of Sciences specialists, as well as members of other institutes from around the country. "A plan of work for this commission has already been drawn up," Dzgoyev said.

He also announced that the relatives of those killed in the avalanche last autumn had invited their own diver to investigate. "Yesterday he went down into the tunnel, but he has not yet produced his conclusions about the possibility of finding those who died," the minister said.

On May 13th, Russian Emergencies Minister Sergei Shoigu supported the conclusions of a ministerial commission on an end to search and rescue work in the region of the Karmadon Gorge.

An MChS diver had explored the tunnel a few hours prior to Shoigu's statement. A two-metre-wide opening was discovered that had been virtually completely blocked debris from the slide. This left the government commission chaired by deputy MChS minister Gennady Korotkin to conclude that further work in the tunnel had no prospects.

The tragedy in the Karmadon Gorge claimed the lives of 19 people, while more than 100, including the film crew of director Sergei Bodrov Jr., were declared missing.

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