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Former water supply company engineer faces charges over child’s death

January 16, 2012, 18:00 UTC+3
A former chief engineer of the Bryansk water supply company has been charged in child’s death case
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MOSCOW, January 16 (Itar-Tass) —— A former chief engineer of the Bryansk water supply company has been charged in child’s death case.

“Sufficient evidence has been collected for bringing charges against former chief engineer of the Bryansk city water supply company, Igor Panov, who was personally responsible for accidents and incidents, good condition of equipment, its proper operation and maintenance,” Investigation Committee spokesman Vladimir Markin said on Monday, January 16.

Panov has been charged with manslaughter caused by improper performance of professional duties, Markin said.

Bryansk region Governor Nikolai Denin has fired the local water supply company’s top officials following the incident in which a mother lost her 18-month-old baby in the sewer due to a sudden pavement cave-in.

The 18-month-old child fell into a ruptured sewer pipe and was carried away by the wastewater in the centre of Bryansk on January 8.

The body was found at the city’s wastewater treatment facility on the following day.

Denin warned against attempts to fan out passions over the incident.

“I ask everyone not to fan out passions over this tragedy and to let the rescuers and investigators to their work. Experts have to find out why the sewer pipe ruptured,” he said when visiting the scene of the incident.

The incident occurred in the middle of the day on January 9 in the city’s central Sovetsky District. The sewage pipe had ruptured and the ground caved in, causing a 26-year-old woman with an 18-month-old child in the pram to fall in the crater. The woman was rescued live, but her child fell out of the pram and was dragged down by the flood in the sewage pipe.

“The woman with a child in the perambulator unexpectedly fell underground, as the walkway above the sewage collector caved in at about 13:00 Moscow time on Sunday at the crossroads of Aviatsionnaya and Bryansky Front Streets,” spokesman of the Russian Investigative Committee Vladimir Markin said. “The child dropped out of the perambulator when falling underground, and the sewage flow dragged down the child, the mother of the child was saved,” he said.

The 26-year-old wife of a police officer walking with their child in the pram fell underground as the walkway caved in, the police department in the Bryansk Region said in an official press release. The woman managed to catch on the edge of the crater that saved her life. The child with the pram was dragged down into the sewage system. Being on duty on that day, the woman’s husband descended underground by rope and rescued his wife to safety.

A criminal case has been opened under Article 109, Part 2, of the Russian Criminal Code on charges of “causing death by negligence due to a person’s failure to perform his or her professional duties”.

“The leadership of the Investigation Committee instructed its investigative branch in the Bryansk Region to conduct a thorough investigation into all the details of the incident,” Markin said. “Meanwhile, the detectives should find the officials overseeing public utilities in the city, and should give a tough legal assessment of their actions or negligence,” he said.

The investigation of the criminal case was put under control of the Investigation Committee’s leadership.

According to the investigators, “one of the possible causes of the cave-in was irregularities during the construction of the sewage system”.

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