Russia’s emergencies minister Yevgeny Zinichev died in an accident during a big Arctic civil defence exercise on Wednesday, according to a BBC report. 55-year-old Zinichev died in the Norilsk area while trying to save someone’s life.

According to Margarita Simonyan, head of Russian broadcaster RT, the minister was tying to save a cameraman who had fallen off a cliff during an interview. “He and the cameraman were on the edge of a cliff. The cameraman slipped and fell into the water,” she said.

The minister rushed after the fallen man and died after hitting a protruding rock. The cameraman also died.

Zinichev was emergencies minister since 2018 and was a key member of President Vladimir Putin’s security detail.

Also read: Undecided about recognising Taliban so far: Russia

He worked in state security, beginning with the Soviet KGB. Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov said it was a great loss.

Deputy emergencies minister Andrei Gurovich told Rossiya 24 TV that his boss acted spontaneously to save someone’s life and this is how he lived all his life. The minister’s body was flown back to Moscow after the accident.

Zinichev’s department had organised the drill that was stretched across seven regions in the Russian Arctic. He said on Tuesday that the “format, geography and involved units are unique”.

Also read: Taliban invite China, others to attend government formation ceremony: Report

It was organised after President Putin reportedly ordered to prevent crisis situations in the Arctic and involved 6,000 specialists covering a dozen emergency situations.

Before his death, the minister had visited a search and rescue team and site of a new fire station in Norilsk.