x Abu Dhabi, UAEThursday 27 July 2017

Many killed in Ukraine gas explosion

At least 11 people die after a gas explosion rips through an apartment block in the Crimean Black Sea town of Yevpatoria.

Rescuers carry an injured man from the debris of a shattered five-storey block.
Rescuers carry an injured man from the debris of a shattered five-storey block.

At least 11 people were killed and dozens are still missing after an explosion ripped through an apartment block in a Ukrainian Black Sea resort, local officials said today. The explosion occurred in a five-story residential building in the Crimean Black Sea town of Yevpatoria late last night, killing nine people, including one child. "According to preliminary data, some 60 people are under the rubble," a spokesman for the Crimean emergency situations ministry said, adding that 20 people have been rescued.

Pictures broadcast on Russian television showed rescue workers and residents desperately scrabbling through the rubble in a bid to find survivors. A Kiev-based spokesman for Ukraine's emergency situations ministry said that at least 35 people were still missing. "There was no smell of gas," said Yevpatoria resident Svetlana Sergiichuk.

Another resident, Lidia Kovalenko, said: "I saw a blue flame and smoke and... a horrible explosion." A Channel 1 correspondent said that the "site of an accident looks simply monstrous." She said: "There is a giant gaping pit in place of the two building entrances." "It felt like an earthquake but it must have been something else," said another resident. Yevpatoria is a popular summer resort town in Ukraine's Crimea peninsula, lying some 60km west of the regional capital Simferopol. Crimea has a Russian-speaking majority population.

*AFP