Make sure you also check out the video below. It is raw video from a neighboring apartment showing close-up the damage on the lower floors after the explosion. At 2:22 in this clip the major collapse occurs.
This was the moment a blast ripped through an old Soviet-style block in southern Russia today sending it crashing down like a house of cards.
The nine-storey building in the city of Astrakhan, 800 miles south east of Moscow, collapsed in an explosion believed to be caused by natural gas.
A witness told the news agency (Interfax) that the bottom floors were destroyed initially, followed by those above, causing rescuers to be trapped in the rubble.
"First there was an explosion, approximately in the area of the second or third floor, and the second and third floors collapsed — the wall came down. I saw two people scramble out of there. We crawled in to help, and at that moment the other floors collapsed. I saw two people get buried, and another few who went in there remained inside," the unnamed witness said.
Investigators said the explosion was likely the result of a suicide attempt by a man living on the third floor who had threatened to kill himself on multiple occasions in the past.
Emergency workers say they have located eight bodies but have so far been able to extract only two. Identification of the bodies is underway. Meanwhile, rescue workers are continuing to sift through the rubble for the missing.
A total of 26 people have so far been rescued. Two children were among 15 people injured. Five remain in hospital, some with serious fractures and other injuries.
The Emergency Ministry has sent a second plane to Asktrakhan bringing more rescue officers and search dogs. The plane is equipped with two medical modules to facilitate the evacuation of the seriously injured.
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