After a dam burst triggered a deadly flood in a Siberian gold mine, Russian authorities detained the head of the small mining company and two other people. The firm allegedly built several dams without authorization.
Russia's federal investigators questioned three suspects on Sunday over Saturday's flooding at a Siberian gold mine, which killed at least 15 people.
The suspects include the CEO of the small mining company Sisim, as well as a senior manager and the foreman of the site at the Seiba River in the Krasnoyarsk region. Authorities believe the flood started when a series of five dams, built illegally by the company, collapsed.
"It has been determined that the dams have been built illegally without any authorization in order to drain groundwater for the purpose of gold mining," the Investigative Committee of Russia said in a statement.
"The breach started with the highest dam and then, due to the force of the moving mass of water, it caused a chain reaction breaking four more," they added. The incident, which happened early on Saturday during heavy rain, caused a flash flood at several workers' dormitories.
The officials also said that the mine's foreman, in charge of organizing and monitoring the work on site, had no mining qualifications.
Snow grounds rescuers
Around 270 people were deployed in the rescue effort following the deadly flood. On Sunday, authorities said five people were still missing despite the continuing search effort. Snow and bad weather were preventing the rescuers from using air crews.
In addition to the 15 confirmed deaths, local health officials said 16 people had been injured, some of them gravely.
Russia holds large gold reserves, with most mining operations controlled by large companies. Smaller companies, such as Sisim, usually run alluvial production, which consists of searching river and stream beds and the surrounding area for precious metals.
dj/jlw (AFP, Interfax)