Teacher Kills Self After 5 Pupils Die in Collapse

The teacher in the Orenburg region whose five pupils died when a section of their school collapsed has committed suicide, authorities said Thursday.

Marina Borodina, 43, hung herself in her garage and was discovered by her husband at around 8 a.m. Thursday, Orenburg regional prosecutor's office spokeswoman Anzhelika Linkova said by telephone.

A section of the two-story school collapsed Wednesday in the village of Belyayevka, killing five girls, all aged 17, prosecutors said. Borodina had taught the girls since they were in the sixth grade, RIA-Novosti reported.

"The events affected her very much," school principal Larisa Tsepovod told RIA-Novosti.

The regional branch of the Investigative Committee said in a statement Thursday that it had opened a probe into her death, a formality in suicides, even when foul play is not suspected.

One of the school's load-bearing walls came crashing down at around 9:30 a.m. Wednesday, the committee said. A criminal case has been opened into possible violations of construction safety regulations, it said.

Investigative Committee chief Alexander Bastrykin flew to Orenburg on Thursday to touch base with officials investigating the collapse.

"We must ascertain who is guilty and carry out severe pre-emptive measures to prevent a similar tragedy from happening again to our children in our schools," he said in the statement.

Orenburg Governor Alexei Chernyshyov has ordered a commission to inspect the cause of the collapse and allocated funds to compensate the victims' families, Interfax reported.

Three other students were hospitalized with head and spinal injuries, while one school employee was injured but in satisfactory condition, Interfax reported.