Magnitogorsk mourns victims of gas explosion

Magnitogorsk mourns victims of gas explosion

The farewell ceremony in honor of the victims who died in the partial collapse of an apartment building in the Russian city of Magnitogorsk on New Year's Eve are under way.

Six funerals will be held in Magnitogorsk today, nine - tomorrow and one - on Sunday, RIA Novosti reported.

On the morning of December 3, a section of a dwelling house that was built in 1973 and houses some 1,100 people in Magnitogorsk collapsed. The search and rescue operation continued four days on a round-the-clock basis. The emergencies ministry said more than 900 people were carrying out the search and rescue operation at the site. On January 3, the Emergencies Ministry declared its end.

Eighteen people were rescued in the first hours after the tragedy, and six more, including two children, were saved during the subsequent operation when clearing the debris. The bodies of all 39 people, including six children, who were killed in the collapse of a section of a dwelling house in Magnitogorsk have been identified.

The 10-month-old boy, Vanya Fokin, who was found alive in the ruins of an apartment block, has suffered closed-head trauma, broken bones, and serious frostbite on his extremities, but medical staff say the prognosis is positive.

Head of Russia’s Investigative Committee Alexander Bastrykin has flown to Magnitogorsk to coordinate the work of the investigative team at the site of the tragedy. The Russian Investigative Committee views a household gas explosion as the main cause of the accident. 

On December 31, Russian President Vladimir Putin has arrived at the Emergency Situations Ministry headquarters at the site of a gas explosion in a residential building in Magnitogorsk, where he met with those affected by the tragedy and the leadership of the Chelyabinsk Region.

The leader 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 father, Shuhrat Ulfatov, 26, was found unconscious and hospitalized after spending more than six hours under the debris in freezing cold, but the fate of the rest of his family was not immediately known.

However, officials on January 4 said the mother and three young children did not survive and that their bodies would be transported to Tajikistan after a service in Chelyabinsk later in the day.

The victims were identified as 24-year-old Rajabmo Isoev, 6-year-old Ahmad, 4-year-old Fotima, and 3-year-old Saimuhsiddin.

Ulfatov remains in critical but stable condition in a Chelyabinsk hospital.

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