At least two die in Russia’s high rise apartment collapse, say reports

Saul Bowman
January 1, 2019

Authorities said five people were hospitalized with injuries and 35 others remained unaccounted for.

National television broadcast footage of the mangled heaps of concrete as hundreds of rescue workers combed the debris in temperatures of -18C.

The collapsed part of the building housed 110 people, of whom 15 were away at the time of the blast, the regional government said.

Emergencies Minister Yevgeny Zinichev said at a meeting with Putin there were "presumably between 36 and 40 people under the rubble" as of Monday evening, agencies reported.

The nation's top investigative agency, the Investigative Committee, said the collapse of a section of the ten-storey building was apparently caused by a gas leak.

"We are working carefully because there is a risk that the building will collapse". Monday was a public holiday in Russian Federation.

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 fate of 79 other people was not clear. Residents were evacuated to a nearby school.

Cabinet officials were heading to the city to oversee the rescue efforts.

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.

Russian emergency officials say that sections of the apartment building collapsed after an apparent gas explosion.

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

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

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