Toll Hits 1,632; ‘Hour Of Silence’ Called Key To Rescue


The confirmed death toll from the earthquake that leveled a remote Russian oil town rose to 1,632 Tuesday as rescuers neared the end of a gruesome search that taught them a pivotal rescue tactic.

“This quake has taught us about the hour of silence, when we turned off all engines to listen to the voices of people under the rubble,” said Sergei Shoigu, Russia’s emergency situations minister.

Using the “hour of silence,” rescuers found 58 survivors on the first day, 42 the next day, and two more on Saturday, Shoigu said.

But no survivors have been found since early Saturday in the ruins of Neftegorsk on Sakhalin Island in Russia’s Far East. The toll of bodies recovered soared Tuesday, the search’s 10th day.

Tuesday morning, Shoigu told a news conference in Moscow that 1,380 bodies had been pulled from the rubble.

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