MOSCOW—Russian Emergencies Minister Yevgeny Zinichev died during a training exercise in the Arctic on Wednesday, RIA news agency cited the ministry as saying.
The 55-year-old Zinichev, who had headed the high-profile emergencies ministry since 2018, died while saving someone’s life, RIA said, without providing further details.
“…Zinichev died tragically while performing his official duties during inter-departmental drills to prevent crisis situations in the Arctic, saving someone’s life,” RIA quoted the ministry as saying.
Margarita Simonyan, editor-in-chief of Russia’s RT television channel, said Zinichev had been standing on a ledge with a cameraman who slipped and fell into some water.
“There were a fair number of witnesses—no one even had time to think about what had happened when Zinichev threw himself into the water for the fallen person and crashed into a protruding rock,” she wrote on Twitter.
The cameraman also died, Simonyan added.
Zinichev 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 had said in a statement earlier on Wednesday.
Before becoming a minister, Zinichev held a number of jobs including as deputy director of the Federal Security Service and briefly as acting regional governor of Kaliningrad.
He was formerly a bodyguard and personal aide to President Vladimir Putin, according to Russian media. Kremlin spokesperson Dmitry Peskov told Russian news agencies that Putin had offered his condolences.