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Avalanche hits ski resort in northwest Russia killing one, rescue effort over

February 19, 2016, 11:34 UTC+3 MURMANSK

The rescue effort involved 90 people and 22 pieces of equipment

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© Ministry of Emergency Situations of the Murmansk region/TASS

MURMANSK, February 19. /TASS/. Rescue effort has been completed to deal with the aftermath of an avalanche in Kirovsk, a town in the extreme northwest part of Russia, in which one person was killed, the local emergencies ministry said on Friday.

Late on Thursday, the avalanche descended on the town from Yukspor Mountain after being artificially triggered by experts of a local center to protect the area where the major ski center in the region is located. The avalanche, which was more massive than expected, missed the trajectory partly engulfing the town, damaging residential buildings, breaking the windows and covering garages.

The rescue effort involved 90 people and 22 pieces of equipment.

"The body of one dead person was found in the evening yesterday and no other victims were found, the rescue works have been completed and only recovery efforts continue," a ministry official said.

Preliminary reports say the man was due to ensure safety of people and not to allow them to the area. "But he was trapped under avalanche himself," the official told TASS.

Russia’s Investigative Committee has opened a criminal case into the man’s death. Prosecutors will investigate why the center for avalanche security had not given a warning signal before the works.

The artificial triggering of avalanche by an explosive charge is commonly used in the mountains when there is an excessive amount of snow that can descend. The detonation usually comes in the evening before the expected descending.

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