Deadly blast partly destroys Russian apartment block

AFP Rescuers pull baby alive from Russian block after gas blast

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

The blast rocked the apartment complex at around 4 a.m. local time, completely collapsing one of its sections.

National television said some 50 people could be trapped under the rubble.

Russian President Vladimir Putin traveled to Magnitogorsk after being notified of the tragedy.

Almost 1,400 rescuers were searching for those who could have been buried under debris in temperatures of -17 degrees Celsius (1.4 degrees Fahrenheit), which are forecast to plunge to -24 degrees Celsius (-17 degrees Fahrenheit) overnight.

Reports said that the blast ripped through the building at around 0100 GMT (9am Malaysian time) when numerous residents were asleep. A search and rescue effort is underway involving 469 emergency workers.

Officials warned that two more sections of the Soviet-era high-rise on Karl Marx Street were in danger of collapsing.

Magnitogorsk is a city of about 400,000 just over 1,000 miles from Moscow.

Almost 1,400 rescuers searched for people who might be buried under building debris in temperatures of -17 C. The forecast called for temperatures to plunge to -24 C overnight. He promised to quickly provide new apartments for those who were left homeless. Investigators opened a criminal probe into the accident, with the FSB security service confirming the blast had been the result of a gas explosion.

Gas blasts have become a relatively common occurrence in Russian Federation over recent years as the country struggles to cope with aging Soviet-era infrastructure and loose safety requirements, according to Reuters.

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