Baby pulled from collapsed apartment block destroyed in gas explosion
1st January 2019

Miraculous moment ten-month-old baby is pulled from collapsed apartment block destroyed in gas explosion in Russia – but dozens are still buried underneath the rubble

  • A ten-month-old baby boy has been rescued from rubble of collapsed building
  • Gas explosion rocked tower block in the Russian city of Magnitogorsk yesterday
  • Blast at 6am Monday caused partial collapse of the high-rise residential building
  • Search for survivors has been suspended, despite a reported 35 still missing 

A baby boy has been miraculously found alive in the rubble of a Russian apartment block destroyed in a gas explosion.

The ten-month old-child was found swaddled in his cot, having survived more than 24 hours in temperatures of minus 23C.

Sniffer dogs alerted rescuers, after which they heard the child crying and were able to dig him out. 

The ten-month old-child was found swaddled in his cot, having survived more than 24 hours in freezing temperatures after a gas explosion explosion brought down the building 

The baby is believed to be Ivan ‘Vanya’ Fokin whose mother had save herself and his three-year-old brother in the carnage but was unable to pull her youngest son from the collapsed apartment block. 

Health officials said the baby had suffered frostbite and a head injury, describing his condition as ‘severe’.

‘His mother is my cousin,’ said a woman called Olesya. ‘She was sleeping on the sofa with her older child, who is three years old, and Vanya slept in his cot. 

‘She escaped with the older one but Vanya was not found.’ 


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The baby was rescued shortly before authorities decided to suspend the search for the estimated 35 people still missing after the catastrophe. 

The structure is too unsafe to continue rescue operations until parts of it have been dismantled, say emergency officials.

It is not believed anyone is still alive under the debris after the fierce fireball explosion brought down the apartment block in Magnitogorsk in Russia’s Ural Mountains region.

Seven children are among those who perished in the building, it is feared, according to regional officials.

The first film has emerged of the last man to be pulled alive from the mayhem – some seven hours after yesterday’s 6am gas blast.

Saved! Rescue workers are seen pulling the little boy from the rubble on Tuesday

Emergency officers inspect rubble as they take part in a rescue operation after a gas explosion rocked a residential building in Russia’s Urals city of Magnitogorsk

The resident was brought out on a stretcher yesterday and rushed to a waiting ambulance.

Like several survivors he had suffered from frost bite, it is understood.

Since then no-one has been found alive under the rubble, and operations to hunt for human remains are now suspended.

Some 39 psychologists are working with victims, and the bereaved after the explosion which came hours before Russian Father Christmas delivered presents to children.

The horror led to muted New Year celebrations across the country after Vladimir Putin visited the site in the Urals industrial city and urged Russians to think of those who has suffered in the disaster.

Emergencies Minister Yevgeny Zinichev said today there was a threat to life of emergency workers to continue the salvage operation until unsafe walls had been dismantled.

The operation could be halted for up to 24 hours, he indicated.

‘There is a real risk that more sections of the building will collapse,’ he said.

‘A wall of the seventh entrance is losing balance.

‘It is impossible to continue salvage operations in such conditions.’

Dozens are missing after a high-rise block of flats collapsed in Russia when the building was rocked by a gas explosion

A total of 48 apartments were damaged in the ten-storey building. A huge fire broke out after a suspected gas explosion

His press service said: ‘The debris cleanup and the search will continue only after the threat of collapse is eliminated.’

The announcement followed the discovery on Tuesday morning of an eighth body – an adult – in the rubble.

‘We have found an eighth body, but it has not been pulled out of the rubble yet. We don’t know who it is but it is an adult, not a child,’ said a source.

Five were pulled alive from the collapsed building in which 35 flats were completely destroyed, and more than ten partially destroyed.

A total of 35 people are unaccounted for, say emergency officials in Russia.

Some 1,000 workers are at the site, said reports today.

A day of mourning has been declared for 2 January, announced the governor of Chelyabinsk region Boris Dubrovsky.


Rescuer have been digging through the rubble after the building collapsed in the wake of a gas explosion

Vladimir Putin visited the scene on New Year’s Eve and met a 13-year-old boy pulled from the debris. The boy was reported to have suffered from frostbite.

The fate of his parents and relatives was not clear from Russian media reports.

When Putin asked him what he wanted as a present for New Year – the traditional time when Russians exchange gifts – the boy lying in a hospital bed was unable to answer.

The Kremlin leader told him to think, and he would ensure the gift was delivered later.

Reports said it was delivered today.

In televised comments in Magnitogorsk, Putin earlier said: ‘First of all, I want to express my words of condolences to the families of those who died in the tragedy, to assure all the victims that we will do everything to help and support them.’

After meeting survivors in hospital he called on Russians marking New Year to think about the victims of the tragedy.

‘We need to remember those who died and suffered, in our hearts, because this is in the nature of our people,’ he said. 

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