11 dead in Ukraine apartment gas blast

09:52, 25 December 2008
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Up to 24 are trapped under rubble

An explosion tore through an apartment building in southern Ukraine killing at least 11 people and leaving up to 24 trapped under the rubble, an emergency official said Thursday, AP reported.

The blast leveled part of the five-floor building in the Crimea peninsula resort of Yevpatoriya and destroyed 35 apartments, said Emergency Situations Ministry spokesman Igor Krol.

Children were among the dead following the blast on Wednesday evening, with a gas leak the suspected cause, he said.

Krol said that 21 people had been rescued, four of whom were hospitalized.

The explosion hit at around 9:45 p.m. local time, when most of the destroyed section`s 62 registered inhabitants would have been home, Krol said.

Ukrainian state television pictures showed military rescuers searching for survivors among the mounds of concrete and glass. A middle section of the building was missing, and apartments on either side had their walls torn down and were exposed.

Krol said up to 700 rescuers were at the scene sifting through the devastation.

AP

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