A child drowned in a storm drainage manhole in Sochi, Russia, as he was walking behind his grandmother. The boy ran to the side of the street that had no sidewalk and fell into an open manhole that he could not see underneath the muddy waters that were flowing down the street. A strong current carried the boy into the Black Sea, where his body was subsequently found.
Officials with the Sochi administration said that the storm drainage system in the city (the tragedy took place in Lazarevskoye area) had been built in the early 1960s. Those are specific constructions made in the form of open trenches that did not envisage any safety protection in the form of grids or railings. Drainage ditches in Lazarevskoye run along almost every street in the neighborhood.
Such a construction of the storm drainage system is supposed to be fully open, because during strong tropical downpours, which occur in Sochi, streams of water can carry metal railings or grids away, which may pose a threat to people's lives.
In Sochi, such drainage systems have been used successfully for more than half a century, and their absence could lead to major floods. When the city was being built during the Soviet times, architects stipulated the construction of sidewalks on only one side of the road - the one that runs opposite the drainage trench.
The authorities noted that the tragedy occurred as a result of the confluence of unfavorable circumstances.
On Friday, in the settlement of Lazarevskoye, a 10-year-old boy fell into a storm ditch and was carried away into the sea. The child's grandmother could not save him. The woman tried to jump into the manhole herself in an attempt to retrieve her grandson. The woman survived. The boy's father and grandmother took the body of the boy to Tatarstan on Sunday. The Sochi authorities expressed condolences to the family and defrayed all expenses connected with the arrival and accommodation of the boy's relatives from Tatarstan.
It should be noted that many blame the Sochi authorities for the tragedy, because local residents and homeless people steal manhole covers and drainage grids and sell them as scrap metal. It is believed that the authorities are aware of the problem, but take no action to resolve it.