Officials say at least nine people are feared trapped under rubble after a nine-story apartment block in southern Russia partially collapsed after a suspected household gas explosion.
A spokesman for the Russian Emergency Situations Ministry's southern regional center said on February 27 that six people have been hospitalized as a result of the blast in the city of Astrakhan.
Rubble was being cleared from the site of the explosion in the hope of finding those trapped underneath.
Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin has ordered the formation of a government commission to investigate the blast and deal with its aftermath.
Based on reporting by AFP, Interfax, and ITAR-TASS