Russian investigators have opened a criminal probe into mass deaths caused by devastating floods in the Krasnodar Territory in south Russia that killed at least 146 people, a local police source said on Sunday.
“The probe was launched under part 3, article 109 of the Russian Criminal Code (the infliction of death by negligence),” the police source said.
Russia’s worst in decades floods ravaged this week several cities and residential areas in the Krasnodar Region, including Gelendzhik, Novorossiysk as well as Krymsk, a town with the population of 57,000 people, located some 87 kilometers (54 miles) from Krasnodar.
At least 130 people were killed by the disaster in the Krymsk district that was swept by the flood on late Friday night, when most of the people were asleep.
A senior assistant to the head of the Krasnodar Territory investigative department said investigators were studying several versions of the disaster, including the opening of a sluice gate at a mountain reservoir to prevent it from overfilling because of the heavy rains.
“During 13 hours, there were numerous automatic discharges of water but it is still early to say this was the reason for the flooding,” Ivan Sengerov said, adding the area was swamped by an annual amount of precipitation over the last twenty-four hours, referring to Russia’s Hydrometeorological Center.
Russia’s Hydrometeorological Center reported on Saturday about a five-month amount of rainfall in the area.