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    Winter storm wreaks havoc in Russia's Olympic city Sochi

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    Three people are missing in Sochi after a powerful winter storm swept in off the Black Sea and severely damaged a port under construction in Russia's Olympic city.

    Three people are missing in Sochi after a powerful winter storm swept in off the Black Sea and severely damaged a port under construction in Russia's Olympic city.

    The storm destroyed a pier and washed away construction equipment and materials. A diving boat used in the construction capsized, but was towed ashore in the morning. The three crewmen were not aboard, despite hopes that they were in the boat's hold.

    Rescuers began a search for the missing men on Tuesday morning, using a helicopter, tugs and motor boats. Yury Fomin, head of a local rescue center, said the shoreline was also being searched.

    A floating platform Irben also used in the construction of the port sank during the storm, but three people aboard were rescued.

    "Four building cranes, a drilling installation, a diesel power unit," and other equipment have been washed away, said Andrei Popov, deputy head of the city's emergencies service.

    An unidentified police official said by telephone that huge waves washed away two floating building platforms, a tractor, an excavator, a compressor station, three portable cabins housing workers, as well as two small ships moored near the construction site in the Imereti Bay. He said no one was killed or injured in the disaster.

    The construction company building the port, tycoon Oleg Deripaska's Transstroi, said it has not begun estimating the damage yet as the storm is continuing.

    The storm also rocked nearby Abkhazia, where a Turkish oil tanker was thrown ashore on a beach in Sukhumi, the capital of the former Georgian republic. The seven crew members were not affected.

    Sochi, which won the right to host the 2014 Winter Olympics, is building most of the venues and infrastructure from scratch.

    MOSCOW, December 15 (RIA Novosti)

     

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