Baby found alive in rubble of collapsed Russian apartment building

Geneva Stokes
January 1, 2019

Rescue crews had temporarily halted their search while workers tried to remove or stabilize sections of the building in danger of collapse.

Damage to the building became visible as day broke.

The video filmed by the emergency services, which have been working continuously since the early morning of December 31, shows half a dozen men carefully pulling out a pink-skinned child from a pile of deformed concrete and steel, before another rescuer sprints with the baby to the nearest ambulance. The explosion happened before dawn when many people were still asleep.

Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev ordered the creation of a government commission to provide aid to the victims of the disaster.

The emergencies ministry earlier said that five people were in hospital.

Emergency Situations Minister Yevgeny Zinichev said it would take at least 48 hours to clear the debris.

The regional governor Boris Dubrovsky announced a day of mourning on January 2, with flags lowered and entertainment events cancelled, as the disaster toll set a sombre mood in Russian Federation, where New Year's Eve celebrations are the biggest annual festivities.

There is a "real threat of part of the building collapsing", Zinichev said.

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Powerful heaters were deployed in the hope of stopping any trapped survivors from freezing to death.

Emergency workers are facing a race against time to dig survivors out of the rubble of the blast with temperatures set to plunge as low as -24C (-17F). The wall was not there any longer.

The girl is the first person who has been extracted alive apart from those residents who escaped immediately following the suspected gas blast. "My mother was screaming that she couldn't breathe, and my son was screaming from another corner".

The head of the Tajik diaspora in Magnitogorsk, Abulmajid Sharipov, told RFERL that a Tajik family of five was living in an apartment in the collapsed part of the building.

The fates of his wife and three children are unclear.

Other witnesses said the explosion was strong enough to shatter the windows of nearby buildings.

The Investigative Committee said it has launched a probe into the explosion and dispatched investigators from its central headquarters in Moscow to Magnitogorsk.

Magnitogorsk is a city of about 400,000 just over 1,000 miles from Moscow.

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