At least six people were killed and 12 others injured when part of a nine-storey apartment building in southern Russia collapsed following a natural gas explosion, officials said today.
Anzhelika Barinova, of Russia's Emergency Situations Ministry, said five people are still missing after the blast in Astrakhan, 800 miles south-east of Moscow, yesterday.
Today, several hundred rescuers were searching through the debris for victims.
Prime Minister Vladimir Putin ordered local gas company officials to be suspended pending an official investigation.
Explosions caused by leaky gas pipes and canisters in Russian apartment buildings are common.