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Progress debris found in Altai mountainous forestry area

August 25, 2011, 1:32 UTC+3
The fallout area has the form of an ellipse covering a space of 70 km by 40 km
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BARNAUL, August 25 (Itar-Tass) — Debris of the Progress cargo spacecraft that collapsed on the earth Wednesday shortly after the launch from the Baikonur spaceport in Kazakhstan have been found in the Chebalar mountainous forestry area in the south of the Choya district in the Republic of Altai, a constituent region of Russia in southern Siberia.

A source at the regional police told Itar-Tass the Chebalar forestry area is located near the township of Bizhelbik. He also said there was no fire at or around the site of the debris crash.

The Altai emergency service did not confirm this report at 11.30 p.m. Moscow time. “Roscosmos will give all comments,” a source in the Altai emergency service said.

The source said nonetheless that an emergency situation has been announced in the Choya district.

The authorities have set up an emergency response committee.

The search for the debris will enter an active phase after dawn. The standard zonal time in the Republic of Altai is GMT + 7 hours and dawn is due at 05:25.

The source specified that the fragments found by now are those of the carrier rocket. “But it’s not ruled out that some parts of the debris fell in another two districts of the region.”

Authorities in the neighboring Altai territory have set up an emergency response committee, too.

A fall out of the fragments of carrier rockets launched from Baikonur is not uncommon either in the Republic of Altai or in the Altai territory but the latter becomes the zone of the fallout of waste rocket parts more often.

The area where fragments will be found most typically embraces the central parts of the Iolgo, Sumultinsky, and Altyntu mountain ranges and the upper reaches of the rivers Uimen, Pyzha, Greater and Smaller Simulta.

The fallout area has the form of an ellipse covering a space of 70 km by 40 km.

Residents in the Republic of Altai have no reasons for panic over the collapse of the Progress cargo spacecraft. The local authorities put the situation under full control, Altai’s leader Alexander Berdnikov said on Wednesday.

“The likely area, where the Progress debris fell down, is already fenced off, all services are engaged in the search,” he said. The republican government has set up a special group, which is controlling the emergency situation. Berdnikov also confirmed that the Progress debris collapsed in the Chebalar mountainous forestry area near the settlement of Bizhelbik in southern Choya district in the Republic of Altai. The emergency situation was announced in the district. The search in other districts continues.

The deputy director of the Institute of Water and Ecological Problems of the Siberian branch of the Russian Academy of Sciences, Alexander Puzanov, told Itar-Tass earlier that the Progress debris most likely does not pose a threat to Altai residents. He was watching an abortive launch of the Soyuz-U booster with the Progress M-12M cargo spacecraft at the Baikonur spaceport on Wednesday.

“It is not clear yet what happened in particular,” Puzanov said. “The Progress debris fell down in the mountainous area. Hardly any threat exists. The rocket fuel burnt down in the atmosphere,” Puzanov noted. He also emphasized that he will leave for Altai on Thursday to join the search for the Progress debris.


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