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Deadly blast ruins Russian Federation housing block in Magnitogorsk

Deadly blast ruins Russian Federation housing block in Magnitogorsk

Cold weather (close to minus 20 degrees Celsius) plus a danger that the remaining part of the building might collapse are major challenges being faced by the rescue teams, Dubrovsky said.

Four people were confirmed dead and another four, including two children, were hospitalised, officials said, citing the latest information.

News outlets in the city, which is 1,700 km (1,050 miles) east of Moscow in the southern Urals, said it was unclear how many people were trapped in the debris, but cries for help could be heard from beneath the rubble.

"It is in the character of our people, despite New Year's festivities, to do not forget to think of the dead and wounded at this moment", Putin said.

The nation's top investigative agency, the Investigative Committee, said an explosion triggered by a gas leak apparently caused the pre-dawn collapse in the industrial city of Magnitogorsk. Monday is a public holiday in Russian Federation.

Officials say that at least seven people have died after sections of the apartment building collapsed after a gas explosion.

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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.

News agency TASS said 79 people were unaccounted for, quoting Chelyabinsk regional Deputy Governor Oleg Klimov. Rescue efforts are underway.

Local resident Anna Koroleva told Echo of Moscow radio that the explosion shattered windows of nearby buildings.

People look at the scene of a collapsed apartment building in Magnitogorsk.

"The chances are reducing with time", Health Minister Veronika Skvortsova responded curtly when pressed by reporters on the likelihood of finding trapped survivors.

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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