Nine-Story Apartment Building Explodes In Astrakhan, Russia, Only Outlet On the Caspian Sea

Blast collapses Russian apartment block

The Associated Press

Feb 27, 2012

Russia Explosion

In this photo distributed by Astrakhan branch of the Ministry for Emergency Situations, Emergency Situations Ministry rescuers inspect debris of an apartment building after an explosion on Monday morning, Feb. 27, 2012, in Astrakhan, Russia. Such gas explosions are frequent in Russia. ASTRAKHAN BRANCH, MINISTRY OF EMERGENCY SITUATIONS PRESS SERVICE — AP Photo

MOSCOW — A section of a nine-story apartment building in a southern Russian city has collapsed in an explosion possibly caused by natural gas, injuring at least 12 people.

Rescue workers are searching through the rubble for more possible victims. Russian news agencies, citing emergency officials, say at least 11 people who lived in the building haven’t been accounted for.

The explosion occurred Monday in Astrakhan, 1300 kilometers (800 miles) southeast of Moscow.

The ITAR-Tass news agency quoted regional Investigative Committee spokeswoman Aanna Konyaeva as saying that the blast first blew out a lower section of the building. As people rushed to help, the upper six stories collapsed.