Three dead and dozens missing in Russian apartment block explosion

3 dead, 79 missing in Russia apartment block explosion

'Dozens missing' after fatal blast at apartment block

There have been similar incidents in Russian Federation in recent years due to ageing infrastructure and poor safety over gas usage.

A suspected gas explosion in the Russian city of Magnitogorsk early Monday morning ripped through an apartment building, killing at least three people and burying dozens after a partial collapse of the structure.

The nation's top investigative agency, the Investigative Committee, said an explosion triggered by a gas leak apparently caused the collapse in the industrial city of Magnitogorsk. It happened before dawn when most residents were still asleep on the New Year's Eve.

Almost 1,400 rescuers searched for people who might be buried under building debris in temperatures of -17 degrees Celsius (1.4 degrees Fahrenheit).

Emergency officials said they were racing against time since the frigid weather reduced the chances of finding anyone alive.

According to the regional government, Russian Health Minister Veronika Skvortsova and Emergency Situations Minister Yevgeny Zinichev have arrived in Magnitogorsk and are now at the site.

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They said some residents could have been buried under debris after Monday's accident.

The fate of 79 other people was not clear.

Staff from the local Magnitogorsk Iron and Steel Works (MMK), one of the country's largest steelmakers, took part in the rescue operation.

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

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

Gas explosions in Russian homes are fairly common, most of which are blamed on neglect of safety rules or poor maintenance.

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