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Helicopter looking for booster rocket fragments in Altai Territory

August 25, 2011, 11:02 UTC+3

Prosecutors said up to four teams of loggers could have been in the area when the rocket fell

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BARNAUL, August 25 (Itar-Tass) — A helicopter of the Emergency Situations Ministry in the Altai republic flew to the village of Bizhelbik, Choisk district, where the booster rocket is believed to have fallen on Wednesday, a local administration official told Itar-Tass.

The heavy rain that aborted the rescue effort the day before has stopped. The search area is located in southern Choisk district.

Prosecutors said up to four teams of loggers could have been in the area when the rocket fell.

"According to preliminary reports, four teams of loggers, ten people in all, are in the crash area, as well as citizens who gather pine nuts. The authorities put the area on alert and banned visits to the forests. They also placed posts on the roads leading to the site of the accident. Arrangements were made to evacuate the loggers," the Russian Prosecutor General's Office said.

Environmental monitoring specialists are due to arrive in the area to estimate the consequences of the rocket crash.

"The actions by government and self-rule bodies are under control of Altai prosecutors," the PGO said, adding that a group of Emergency Situations Ministry personnel and police had been dispatched to the crash site to cordon it off from local residents.

Fragments of the booster rocket and the Progress cargo ship fell in the Altai Territory at 20:55, on August 24. The cargo ship was bringing supplies to the International Space Station.

Heptyl, a highly toxic rocket fuel, potentially poses danger to those in the crash area. Aerospace officials said Progress had about 800 kilograms of heptyl for ISS needs.


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