Russian President Vladimir Putin visited the site where a high-rise residential building collapsed in Magnitogorsk on Monday, taking the lives of at least four residents.
Putin also chaired an emergency meeting with the local authorities and visited survivors of the collapse in hospital.
The president talked to a young boy, who spent an hour waiting for help following the incident. When Putin asked the boy if he had decided what he wanted as a New Year present, the boy replied “not yet,” to which Putin responded “I'll think of something.”
At about 6 AM local time (1 AM GMT) on Monday an entire section of a 10-storey tower block in Magnitogorsk collapsed, causing dozens to be trapped under debris in freezing conditions. According to the local governor, 50 people were in the building at the time it collapsed. Four people died, 35 are still missing. According to the Chelyabinsk Region administration, seven children are thought to still be trapped under debris. According to a report from the Federal Security Service, a gas leak is the likely cause of the explosion.