Thirty seven bodies have been recovered from the rubble of the Magnitogorsk apartment building that collapsed in Russia on New Year’s Eve after an apparent gas explosion.
As of Thursday morning, the bodies of 22 of the 37 dead had been identified, officials say.
Emergency authorities said 48 apartments were damaged in the 10-storey building in the industrial city, which is about 1700 kilometres east of Moscow.
The death toll has risen as rescuers battle sub-zero temperatures to recover people trapped under the rubble.
The one bright spot occurred on Wednesday, when rescuers hailed a “miracle” when a baby boy was found alive under the rubble.
The rescue came about 35 hours after a section of the building collapsed on December 31, which was captured on video.
😦 El terrible momento en el que se desploma el edificio afectado por una explosión de gas en #Magnitogorsk, Rusia.
👉 Confirman al menos 9 muertos y más de una treintena de desaparecidos. pic.twitter.com/ob3XwDZM4t
— eSPAINews (@eSPAINews) January 1, 2019
The blast occurred at 6.02am local time. It is thought to have ripped through the first-floor offices, forcing the collapse of the seven storeys above it.
Russian President Vladimir Putin visited the site and declared Wednesday as a day of mourning in Magnitogorsk.
Rescuers found the baby, who was identified as Ivan Fokin, after hearing his cries amid the debris. Rescue teams were about to call off the search when they heard the boy’s cries.
The child managed to survive a freezing night where temperatures dropped to around minus 18C.
However, the 11-month-old was seriously injured and his prospects of recovery were unclear as he was flown to Moscow for treatment.
“The child was saved because it was in a crib and wrapped warmly,” regional governor Boris Dubrovsky was quoted as saying by Interfax.
— Ruptly (@Ruptly) January 2, 2019
The rescue operation was temporarily halted while workers tried to remove or stabilise other sections of the building that were also in danger of collapse.
“Hundreds of people were waiting for the appearance of the injured child from under the rubble like a miracle. And the miracle happened,” Interfax quoted officials as saying.