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Buckling column probably began Moscow collapse


INVESTIGATORS PROBING the sudden collapse of a Moscow water park roof three weeks ago are this week evaluating CCTV footage which is said to show the column failure that triggered the disaster.

Twenty seven visitors died when the unusual thin concrete shell roof of the two year old Transvaal Water Centre crashed down on the swimming pool area (NCE 19 February).

Five separate investigations were launched in the aftermath of the disaster, one involving a team of Canadian engineers.

Now sources in the Moscow prosecutor's office claim the CCTV footage gives a very strong indication that the collapse began when a steel perimeter column buckled.

Progressive collapse of the rest of the supporting columns and roof failure followed. A puff of dust about 1.5m above ground level at the moment the initial column failed is said to be clearly visible on the video.

This apparently coincides with a bang heard within the water park complex just before the main collapse occurred.

Theories that this dustcloud might be the sign of a deliberate explosion have been discounted.

Surface finish spalling as the column failed is seen as a more likely cause.

Early investigations have also found no signs of settlement or cracking on the concrete raft foundation, sources confirmed.

Preliminary investigation results are expected next week.

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