Officials: 17 dead in Ukraine apartment gas blast

December 25, 2008 19:00

An explosion tore through an apartment building in southern Ukraine, killing at least 17 people and leaving dozens more trapped under the rubble, emergency officials said Thursday. Up to 700 rescuers were searching for survivors in the wreckage of the collapsed five-story building in the Crimea peninsula resort of Yevpatoriya after a blast Wednesday caused by a suspected gas leak, the Emergency Situations Ministry said. Ministry spokesman Volodymyr Ivanov said at least 17 had been killed, saying a higher initial toll was based on some double-counting of bodies. The explosion occurred at around 9:45 p.m., when most of the destroyed section's 62 registered inhabitants would have been home, ministry spokesman Ihor Krol said earlier. Two children were among the dead, he said.

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