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26 Die as Roof of Moscow Water Park Collapses - 2004-02-15


The death toll from a roof collapse at a large indoor swimming pool in Moscow has climbed to at least 26 people. Police have ruled out terrorism and say faulty construction techniques or poor maintenance probably caused the disaster, which also injured more than 100 people.

Rescuers worked through the night in freezing temperatures to search for survivors and bring out more bodies from under rubble that fell onto people in the popular Moscow water park.

Officials say that several children were among the dead.

The facility was packed to capacity when the accident occurred Saturday evening.

The park was built only two years ago and police are questioning managers of the water park. They say they will soon talk to architects and engineers who took part in erecting the structure.

Initial reports indicated the roof may have collapsed after an explosion but police say they do not suspect a terrorist attack. More likely, the collapse was due to snow that had accumulated on the roof. The swimming pool disaster hit Moscow as the city is still recovering from a deadly blast on a crowded subway car 10 days ago that killed at least 41 people.

That incident was been blamed on separatist rebels from the breakaway region of Chechnya who have long been fighting Russian troops in a war of independence.

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