Suspected Gas Explosion in Russia Kills at Least 3

Some 110 people lived in the building, said the RIA news agency, citing the emergencies ministry.

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

Authorities said rescue teams were to work through the night, with local temperatures expected to plunge to -23 Celsius.

The mayor of Magnitogorsk told the state-run TASS news agency that 38 people were missing, adding that it was not clear if they were in the building at the time of the collapse.

President Vladimir Putin traveled to the city in the southern Urals later on December 31, while rescuers searched through the rubble after nearly an entire entryway of the 10-story building came crashing down.

This handout picture released by The Russian Emergency Situations Ministry shows emergency officers as they gather after a gas explosion rocked a residential building in Russia's Urals city of Magnitogorsk.

Officials said that the fate of 79 people was unclear, with police working to locate their whereabouts. Monday was a public holiday in Russian Federation. Cabinet officials arrived in Magnitogorsk to oversee the rescue efforts.

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

Russian Health Minister Veronika Skvortsova is heading to Magnitogorsk at the instruction of Russian President Vladimir Putin.

The local branch of Russia's Federal Security Service said the blast was believed to have been caused by a gas explosion. Residents were evacuated to a nearby school.

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

  • Tracy Klein