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August 22, 2009

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Putin promises aid for dam kin

RUSSIAN Prime Minister Vladimir Putin yesterday visited the site of the Siberian power plant accident that killed 47 workers and promised compensation for their families and those of 28 others still missing.

Putin urged RusHydro, the owner of the massive Sayano-Shushenskaya hydroelectric plant, to compensate the families of the dead and missing equally. RusHydro has already pledged to pay 1 million rubles (US$31,300) to the families of the dead.

Putin acknowledged there was little hope anyone could still be alive.

"We can see what's happened -- let's not pretend," Putin told officials after touring the plant, where a powerful explosion on Monday blew out walls and caused the turbine room to flood.

Putin promised to match the company's payouts with federal money.

Dmitry Kudryavtsev, a spokesman for the Emergency Situations Ministry, said 47 workers were confirmed dead after rescuers found bodies in the destroyed engine room and more in another flooded room that was drained yesterday.

The cause of the accident is unclear but terrorism has been ruled out despite claims by Chechen rebels.


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