Rescuers Search for survivors of deadly Russia apartment block blast

by Kim Boateng Posted on December 31st, 2018

Russia: Russian rescuers are searching for people trapped under the rubble of a city apartment block that partly collapsed in a suspected gas blast, killing at least three.

Russia’s emergencies ministry has told news agency RIA four people were recovered alive from the nine-storey building at Magnitogorsk, an industrial city 1700 kilometres east of Moscow within the Urals region.

Other reports say that up to 16 survivors have been pulled from the rubble.

State television said it was unclear how many people were still trapped.

20 flats collapsed, at least two people per flat (#tragedy happened at 6am), which means a death toll likely < 30. Putin may have to rewrite his end-of-year greeting#Magnitogorsk — Emmanuel Grynszpan (@_zerez_) December 31, 2018

BBC reports that 79 people are missing, but the rescue mission is a race against time, with temperatures said to have plummeted to -15C.

The emergencies ministry said the blast, probably caused by a gas leak, damaged 48 apartments.

RIA said the explosion ripped through the building around 6am when many residents were asleep.

Monday is a public holiday in Russia.

The ministry said 196 rescue workers were at the site to assist with the mission.

There have been several similar incidents in Russia in recent years due to ageing infrastructure and poor safety regulations surrounding gas usage.

In 2015, at least five people were killed when a gas explosion damaged an apartment building in the southern Russian city of Volgograd.

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