Girl fell down into sewage well and died

Court in Ivanovo stated that the death of a 1-year-old girl had been caused by carelessness of a utility company employee.
On August 22, 2003, a 21-year-old lady took her 1-year-old daughter for a walk. The mother put the daughter on the grass in downtown. The girl stepped on the sewage hatch cover. Her mother heard the sound of the cover being turned around. Policemen and rescue workers found the girl’s body soon, but failed to bring her back to life – Any sank in the sewage. She started walking only 3 months before her death.

Law-enforcers started an investigation, and this investigation revealed that the hatch cover was producing contrary to the standards. It was made not of cast iron, but of steel, there was no relief on the hatch’s surface, and the gap between the hatch’s ring and the cover was much bigger than required. One of the 4 mounts of the hatch was broken, and this problem overlapped by the non-standard cover, made the sewage hatch a trap.

Ivanovo state company “Vodokanal” controls exploiting sewage networks. The court laid the responsibility upon Vodokanal’s engineer Herman Pirogov who was supposed to control the state of the hatches. However, the engineer pleaded not guilty saying that “somebody replaced the cover” and the artificer allegedly told him that everything was all right during the last hatches’ check-up several days before.

Leninsky Office of Public Prosecutor reported to Izvestia that “it is hard to imagine that somebody could take the cast iron hatch cover and replace it by a homemade steel cover”. In addition, there were witnesses who testified that a year before the girl’s death, a women was about to fell down into the hatch.

Engineer Herman Pirogov was sentenced to 2 years of probation because of causing death with his carelessness. The court obliged the utility company to pay 300,000 roubles ($10,000) to the girl’s relatives. The defendants did not agree with the verdict and submitted an appeal to a higher court.

The grandmother of the perished girl (she works as a teacher) said that the parents of her students donated money for the girl’s funeral. Remarkably, the girl’s relatives are not angry at the engineer, but blame the entire system of the state utility company Vodokanal for the deadly accident.

Leonid Novikov, Ivanovo

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