Russia apartment block explosion: Four people died and 68 remain unaccounted.
Russia’s Investigative Committee launched a criminal case into the incident in Magnitogorsk, about 1,700 kilometers (1,056 miles) east of Moscow. The inquiry will consider all possible versions of what happened, according to a statement. “Currently, the priority version is explosion of utility gas,” it said.
The blast at about 6 a.m. local time destroyed one of the entrances to the nine-story house, damaging 48 apartments, in the second-biggest city of the Chelyabinsk region near the Ural mountains, according to the statement from the Emergency Ministry’s regional department. Search and rescue operations are being carried out.
There were 111 people registered as residents and nine more people rented apartments there, Interfax reported, citing the Chelyabinsk region governor’s press office. As of 1 p.m. local time, 52 people were accounted for, including four who have been hospitalized and 16 evacuated, according to Interfax.