More bodies pulled from explosion rubble

Moscow: Rescuers hunted for survivors on Wednesday in the rubble of a Russian apartment building wrecked by a New Year’s Eve gas explosion, but found only bodies as the number of confirmed dead rose to 21.
Twenty people were still missing following the explosion, which destroyed 35 high-rise apartments in the Ural mountains city of Magnitogorsk. Braving temperatures that fell as low as minus 27 degrees Celsius (minus 16 degrees Fahrenheit), rescue workers were combing through mangled concrete and metal.
Their efforts were given a boost on Tuesday when a 10-month-old baby boy was found alive and reunited with his mother. But hope was starting to fade of finding many more survivors.
The Emergencies Ministry said in a statement that as of 2:30 pm Moscow time (1130 GMT) the bodies of 21 people, including two children, had been recovered from the partly collapsed building.
Six people, including two children, had been rescued.
“Work is continuing to find another 20 people” still missing, the ministry said, noting that 800 square metres of debris — loaded into 50 dump trucks — had been cleared from the site in the last 24 hours.
The explosion, believed to have been caused by a gas leak, tore through the 10-storey building in the industrial town nearly 1,700 kilometres east of Moscow, in the early hours of Monday.
The Soviet-era apartment
block was home to about 1,100 people and the explosion left
dozens homeless over the New Year — the biggest holiday of the year in Russia. — AFP