Transvaal Study Says Plans Not Followed

The city official charged with criminal negligence over the Transvaal water park tragedy has attempted to clear his name by presenting an independent expert committee's finding that he was not to blame.

Anatoly Voronin, who could face up to seven years in prison if found guilty when the case finally goes to court, presented the committee's report last week at a news conference together with Alexei Vorontsov, the vice president of the Russian Architects' Union.The report says that Mosgosekspertiza, or Moscow State Expertise, the body headed by Voronin that inspects construction plans for quality, had fulfilled all of its obligations in reviewing the plans and issuing approval and thus was not responsible for the disaster.

On Feb. 14, 2004, the glass roof of Transvaal water park in southwestern Moscow collapsed, killing 28 people and injuring more than 100.

The other person charged in connection with the collapse was Nodar Kancheli, the architect who designed the roof. Kancheli has repeatedly denied responsibility for the collapse, saying that the tragedy may have been a terrorist attack.

The Russian Academy of Architecture and Construction Sciences, which evaluated Moscow State Expertise's actions with regard to Transvaal, found that the plan approved by the agency had been amended and that change could have led to the collapse. Attention was drawn to these modifications only after the disaster. The depth of the foundation, the structure of the dome and the type of steel used to build support columns did not correspond to the approved design. Also, the sagging of the roof was not studied well enough to guarantee the safety of the building, the committee said in a statement.

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600450 Transvaal Study Says Plans Not Followed
Date: 14 December 2005

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