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Gas Suspected As Building Blast Hits Czech Capital

Dozens Injured In Prague In Suspected Gas Explosioni
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April 29, 2013
An explosion in the Czech capital, Prague, injured dozens of people on April 29. Police say it appears natural gas is to blame. (Video by AP & RFE/RL)
By RFE/RL
PRAGUE -- Prague's mayor says terrorism has been ruled out as the cause of a powerful explosion in the city center on April 29.

Mayor Bohuslav Svoboda told reporters that the explosion was the result of a natural-gas leak that ignited.

At least 35 people were injured in the blast, which occurred near the National Theater in the Czech capital, not far from the Vltava River, in a building that officials said sits between the Charles University's sociology faculty and the film and TV school of the Academy of Performing Arts (FAMU).

Rescue workers said they were searching for three missing people who may still be buried beneath the rubble of the damaged building. But Svoboda said sniffer dogs were unable to find anyone.

Rescue workers help victims of the Prague blast on April 29.
Rescue workers help victims of the Prague blast on April 29.

The explosion shattered the windows of nearby buildings and could be heard a kilometer away.

The debris-strewn street was sealed off to traffic and police evacuated a nearby school out of concern that there could be a second gas explosion from the leak.

The dean of the sociology faculty of Charles University said the building will probably be closed for the remainder of the semester and classes taught elsewhere.

With reporting by AP and idnes.cz

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