Magnitogorsk blast: Boy found alive in rubble flown to Moscow

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Media caption,

Magnitogorsk: Russian rescuers pull baby from rubble

An 11-month-old boy rescued from the ruins of a collapsed apartment block in the Russian city of Magnitogorsk is said to be conscious but in an "extremely serious" condition.

The country's health ministry says he has severe frostbite to his limbs, a head injury and multiple leg fractures.

The boy, named Ivan, has been evacuated to Moscow for treatment.

His mother also survived the suspected gas explosion, which killed at least 14 people.

Twenty-seven people remain unaccounted for.

Ivan was found after spending more than 30 hours in sub-zero temperatures in the rubble of the apartment block.

How was Ivan found?

He was found wrapped in a blanket and in his cot in the Urals region city, about 1,695km (1,053 miles) east of Moscow, where the daytime temperature is about -17C.

One rescuer, Pyotr Gritsenko has described how the infant, whom he initially thought to be a girl, was found.

"[We made sure there was] silence so we could hear if sounds were coming or not," he told Russian state TV channel Rossia 24.

"One of the rescuers in our group, Andrei Valman, heard a child crying near the adjacent apartment block, near the part that was still standing.

Media caption,

Rescuers searched for survivors after a gas explosion in a Russian apartment block

"After that, we stopped all our equipment in order to make sure again, and listened. When we said 'Quiet!' the baby reacted and went quiet too. When we said 'Where are you?' she started to react again.

"When we were certain, the head of our centre, who is more experienced, said 'This is where we'll work' and told us to start removing the rubble."

Image caption,
Russian President Vladimir Putin visited the city to assess the situation

How did the explosion occur?

The blast, at 06:02 local time is thought to have ripped through the first floor, which houses some offices, and the seven storeys above then collapsed.

The building was home to 120 people, and 48 flats collapsed in the blast. Nearby flats were also damaged.

Image source, AFP
Image caption,
The dangerously unstable building had to be secured before the rescue could continue

"I woke up and felt myself falling," one witness told Russian television, according to news agency AFP. "The walls were gone. My mother was screaming and my son had been buried."

Another witness spoke of a "wave of fire" which followed the explosion.

A criminal investigation has been opened into the disaster.

Wednesday has been declared a day of mourning in Magnitogorsk.