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Death Toll Rises to 21 in Russian Apartment Block Collapse

Ilya Moskovets / TASS

Twenty-one dead bodies have been recovered from the debris of an apartment block in Russia that partially collapsed in an apparent explosion, while 20 people remained unaccounted for, authorities said Wednesday.

The blast, initially thought to have been caused by a gas leak, damaged 48 apartments in a 10-story building in the industrial city of Magnitogorsk in the early hours of Monday.

The Emergencies Ministry said that six people — including a 10-month-old child — had been rescued alive since the start of the search.

But the death toll continued to tick up almost every hour Wednesday, with 21 people, including two children, now confirmed dead. Another 20 people remain missing.

Regional authorities announced a day of mourning in Magnitogorsk, some 1,700 kilometers east of Moscow, on Wednesday.

In a separate incident late Tuesday, three people died on the same street where the building collapsed, when a minibus became engulfed in flames. Footage shared by local media showed a ball of fire followed by sounds of explosives or firearms being discharged.

Following anonymously sourced reports suggesting both explosions may have been acts of terrorism, Russia’s Investigative Committee said no traces of explosives have been found in the rubble.

Reuters contributed reporting to this article.

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