By Naadiya Adams
Russian Emergencies Minister Yevgeny Zinichev died when he attempted to save a person’s life during training exercises in the icy city of Norilsk.
In a statement on Wednesday, the ministry said Zinichev, who was 55, was in the Arctic to oversee certain projects. Visiting large-scale drill sites, as well as the construction site of a new fire station in the town.
According to the Moscow Times, chief editor of the state-funded RT news broadcaster, Margarita Simonyan, said Zinichev died while rescuing a cameraman who fell into the water.
In a tweet she said:
“There were plenty of witnesses, but no one even had time to figure out what happened as Zinichev jumped into the water after the fallen man and landed on a protruding stone.”
The cameraman, later identified as film director Alexander Melnik, at the age of 63, also died. According to Russian media the accident happened at the Kitabo Oron waterfall in northern Siberia, some 165km west of Norilsk.
According to RT, Zinichev had headed the Emergency Situations Ministry since 2018. His predecessor stepped down not long after a major fire in a shopping centre in Siberia killed more than 60 people, sending shockwaves throughout the country.
There is widespread belief that Zinichev was once part of Vladimir Putin’s security detail.