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Search For Survivors Called Off At Moscow Market --> People seeking information about victims of the market collapse on 23 February (RFE/RL) 24 February 2006 -- Emergency workers in Moscow have called off the search for survivors beneath the rubble of an indoor market that collapsed early on 23 February.

Work at the Baumansky market in eastern Moscow is now focusing on finding and removing the bodies of victims.

Emergency Situations Ministry spokeswoman Natalya Lukash says at least 56 people were killed and 32 injured by the collapse. Most victims are thought to be workers from Azerbaijan or other former Soviet republics.

Moscow Prosecutor Anatoly Zuyev says a criminal investigation is under way to determine whether the cause of the collapse was heavy snow, flawed design, or maintenance neglect.

Nodar Kancheli, the architect who designed the massive structure, says he is not in a position to determine the cause.

"I can't say whose fault it is," Kancheli said. "Maybe it is snow or maybe it is maintenance. I can't imagine how it was standing for 30 years and now [it collapsed]. The roof was designed to carry a snow load of 140 kilograms. Now [roofs] are designed to hold 220 [kilograms of snow]. Standards have changed, or maybe there's more snow now."

Kancheli is the same architect who drafted the plans for a Moscow aqua park that collapsed two years ago -- killing 28 people. Prosecutors have blamed that collapse on design flaws.

(compiled from agency reports with contributions from RFE/RL's Russian Service)