Construction blamed for roof collapse at indoor water park

Shoddy construction and unskilled labor could be to blame in a roof collapse that killed 25 in Moscow Feb. 14.

More than 100 people were swimming at an indoor water park outside of Moscow when a 6,000-square-yard glass dome collapsed onto the bathers. The rest of the roof and some exterior walls collapsed as well.

Sixty-eight people, including 20 children, remain in the hospital. Rescue workers expect to find up to 13 more bodies as the search continues. The hunt for survivors turned into a search for the dead Sunday. Workers reasoned that if the swimmers had survived the ceiling’s collapse, they would not have survived a night in Moscow’s sub-zero temperatures. Many of the people who were rescued Saturday fled the scene in bathing suits.

The Russian government has started an investigation and a criminal inquiry into the reason for the collapse. Some experts suggest the contrasts in temperature inside and outside of the roof’s glass dome could be the cause. Others say Russia’s corrupt construction system could be to blame. Using unskilled labor and erecting new buildings quickly without meeting code regulations has become common in recent years. The current trend in Russian construction is to build quickly and sell.

“In connection with this awful incident, we are tightening considerably the demands we place on building plans and on developers who receive licenses,” Nikolai Koshman, head of the state Construction Committee, said at a news conference.

The licenses for all of the contractors involved, including the Turkish company Kocak Insaat, architects Sergey Kisselev & Partners and ZAO and K, have been suspended. The wife of Moscow’s mayor owned the building that housed the indoor water park, which opened 18 months ago.