Rescuers, pausing frequently to put their ears to the rubble to listen for signs of life, pulled scores of corpses out of a mass of concrete planks and metal beams after the snow-laden roof of a Moscow market collapsed.
At least 57 people were killed and 32 injured in the collapse early yesterday morning, Emergency Situations Ministry spokeswoman Irina Andriyanova said today.
Virtually all the victims were believed to be workers from Azerbaijan and other former Soviet republics, among the thousands who have poured into the Russian capital to fill low-paying jobs such as those at the city’s produce and houseware markets.
The probable cause was either the buildup of heavy snow, design flaws or maintenance errors, said Moscow Prosecutor Anatoly Zuyev.
Prosecutors have opened a criminal investigation on charges of negligence leading to deaths, the RIA-Novosti news agency reported.