Death toll from Russian building collapse rises to 10

February 29, 2012 10:40 am 

MOSCOW, Feb. 29 — One more body has been found after a gas explosion destroyed an apartment building in southern Russia, bringing the total death toll to 10, according to local authorities.

"The tenth body has been discovered under the debris. Preliminary information showed that the person is the last one who could be in the rubble," a spokeswoman of the regional emergency department was quoted by Interfax news agency as saying.

The nine-storey building collapsed following the gas explosion on the third floor Monday afternoon in the southern Russian city of Astrakhan, injuring at least 15.

Also on Tuesday, Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin arrived in Astrakhan, visiting victims' families and coordinating with local authorities in dealing with the aftermath of the accident.

Putin promised to allocate some 300 million rubles (about US$ 10 million) to the relief work and residents who were affected by the accident.

Earlier, the authorities have promised to pay 1 million rubles (about US$ 34,000) to families of those killed in the blast.

Police said the main cause of the explosion was violation of safety rules. They also suspected it was deliberately caused by a mentally unstable resident trying to commit suicide. (PNA/Xinhua) FFC/mmg

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