Russian Emergencies Minister Yevgeny Zinichev has died while attempting to save a person’s life during training exercises in the Arctic city of Norilsk.

Zinichev, 55, was in the Arctic to oversee large-scale drills and visited the construction site of a new fire station in Norilsk, as well as a search-and-rescue team in the area, the ministry said in a statement carried by Russian news agencies on Wednesday.

Margarita Simonyan, chief editor of the state-funded RT news broadcaster, said Zinichev died while rescuing a cameraman who slipped and fell into the water, the Moscow Times reported.

“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,” Simonyan tweeted.

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.

He began his career as a KGB officer in the late 1980s and continued to serve in the Federal Security Service (FSB) in the post-Soviet period, the Times reported.

Zinichev is believed to have once been part of President Vladimir Putin’s security detail.

Norilsk is about 2,900km (1,800 miles) northeast of Moscow.

Culled from Aljazeera

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