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Death toll rises to 37 in Russian apartment block collapse

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Ilya Moskovets  TASS

Russian emergency officials say the death toll from the partial collapse of an apartment building has risen to 28 after more bodies were recovered from the rubble.

Eighteen people have been rescued in the first few hours after the building collapse in Magnitogorsk, the Russian Emergencies Ministry press service told TASS.

The rescue of a ten-month-old infant Vania can indeed be considered a miracle: he had spent 35 hours in the cold (the temperature reached as low as 30 degrees Celsius below zero) with severe injuries, trapped under the rubble in his cradle.

The emergencies ministry said work was continuing at the site on Thursday, with almost 900 people involved in rescue and recovery efforts.

The Emergency Situations Ministry said that 26 apartments with 46 residents were destroyed in the collapse. The people found dead since the Monday morning collapse so far include six children.

Dozens are still missing, as rescue teams remain n the scene in wake of the new year eve accident in the city 1,400 km east of Moscow.

The removal of debris was continuing for a fourth day, the ministry said.

He was found wrapped in a blanket and in his cot. He was flown to a Moscow children's hospital for treatment.

The gas blast took place in a 10-story residential block on Monday in Magnitogorsk, the Chelyabinsk Region.

Investigators have launched a probe, but have said there is no reason to suspect foul play.

Officials think an explosion triggered by a gas leak caused the collapse. Initial reports attributed the blast to a gas explosion.

But in a statement issued on January 1, the federal Investigative Committee said the authorities were looking into "all possible causes" but added that no signs of a bomb blast have been found.

Located in the mineral-rich southern Urals, Magnitogorsk, with a population of more than 400,000, is home to one of Russia's largest steel producers.

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