Advertisement

At least 4 dead in apartment building collapse in Russia

Click to play video: 'Russian apartment block blast kills three, traps dozens' Russian apartment block blast kills three, traps dozens
WATCH ABOVE: Russian rescuers were searching on Monday for people trapped under the rubble of a city apartment block that partly collapsed in a suspected gas blast, killing at least four, RIA said – Dec 31, 2018

At least four people died Monday when sections of an apartment building collapsed after an apparent gas explosion in Russia’s Ural Mountains region, officials said.

The authorities said five others were hospitalized with injuries, and 35 other residents remained unaccounted for in the accident in Magnitogorsk, a city of 400,000 about 1,400 kilometres southeast of Moscow.

This image provided by the Russian Emergency Situations Ministry taken from TV footage, shows Emergency Situations employees working at the scene of a collapsed section of an apartment building in Magnitogorsk, Russia, Monday, Dec. 31, 2018. Chelyabinsk Region Governor Press Service photo via AP

The nation’s top investigative agency, the Investigative Committee, said the collapse of a section of the 10-storey building was apparently caused by a gas leak. It happened before dawn when most residents were still asleep on New Year’s Eve.

Story continues below advertisement

WATCH BELOW: Putin surveys collapsed Russian apartment after deadly gas explosion, visits survivors in hospital

Click to play video: 'Putin surveys apartment building collapse in Russia, visits injured in hospital' Putin surveys apartment building collapse in Russia, visits injured in hospital
Putin surveys apartment building collapse in Russia, visits injured in hospital – Dec 31, 2018

Nearly 1,400 rescuers searched for people who might be buried under building debris in temperatures of -17 degrees Celsius. The overnight forecast called for temperatures to plunge to -24 degrees Celsius overnight.

Emergency officials said they were racing against time since the frigid weather reduced the chances of finding anyone alive. They deployed powerful heaters to raise temperatures under the debris.

“We must work as quickly as we can as temperatures don’t give us any time to linger,” Deputy Emergency Minister Pavel Baryshev said during a conference call with local officials.

Emergency Situations employees working at the scene of a collapsed apartment building in Magnitogorsk, Russia, Monday, Dec. 31, 2018. AP Photo/Maxim Shmakov

Russian President Vladimir Putin visited the accident site and went to a local hospital where injured residents were taken.

Story continues below advertisement
Emergency Situations employees working at the scene of a collapsed apartment building in Magnitogorsk, Russia, Monday, Dec. 31, 2018. AP Photo/Maxim Shmakov

Local authorities initially said 68 people registered as residents in the collapsed section of the building were missing, but later tracked down some of them.

The Russian Emergency Ministry later said that 35 people remained unaccounted for, and it wasn’t clear if they were in the building when it collapsed.

The regional governor, Boris Dubrovsky, told Putin that authorities published the missing persons list in the hope they were somewhere else when the explosion happened and would report their whereabouts.

Emergency workers have evacuated residents of nearby sections of the building, fearing they could also tumble down.

Gas explosions in Russian homes and businesses are common, and they are usually blamed on neglect of safety rules or poor maintenance.

Sponsored content