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    SCALE OF DESTRUCTION IN MOSCOW AQUA-PARK BAFFLES DESCRIPTION

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    MOSCOW, February 15, 2004. (RIA Novosti) -- The scale of destruction in the Moscow aqua-park startled even the rescuers.

    "We have been to districts of earthquakes to eliminate obstructions, and the nature of destruction [here] is similar. It looks as if an earthquake had taken place in Moscow", a rescuer said.

    Transvaal aqua-park was built less than two years ago and soon became one of the most popular family recreation places. On February 14th, St. Valentine's Day, there were up to 1,300 people there, according to different estimates. From 360 to 480 out of them were on the floor where the roof collapsed almost totally.

    The scene of the tragedy looks like a crater. The deepening where the central swimming pool was situated is full of twisted concrete carcass, mixed with snow, wooden parts, pieces of metal, heat insulation and elements of interior decoration. Scattered all around are plastic furniture, cane chairs, pieces of clothes, toys and inflated children's life vests.

    The roof fell on the children's playground with the children's pool and the big pool with the slides, the centrifuge and other most popular attractions, as well as on the adjoining territory. It partially damaged the fitness center, the amphitheater and some service rooms.

    According to eyewitnesses, 70 percent of the roof collapsed at one moment. The dome covered all of the park's water surface, except the adult pool.

    "The central bearing of the counter roof suddenly crackled and started to fall sidelong, carrying along the total construction of the roof," one of the eyewitnesses said.

    Evidently, it was this crackle that the visitors in the adjoining rooms and inhabitants of neighboring apartment blocks thought to be the sound of an explosion.

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