Gas blast kills at least ten in Ukraine

At least ten people have been killed, three children among them, after a powerful gas explosion caused part of a residential building to collapse in the Ukrainian city of Dnepropetrovsk. Twenty-five others are injured and 20 reported missing. Rescue teams

The explosion happened in a nine-storey building at about 11am local time. 

The city's gas company says the blast was caused by a pressure surge. Gas supplies in the area have been cut as a safety precaution.

Hopes to find survivors remain

Emergency workers say efforts to dig out people still trapped under the rubble are likely to continue throughout the night. Several survivors have been pulled alive from the rubble.

There are still people trapped under the rubble, 
            their relatives are looking on
There are still people trapped under the rubble, their relatives are looking on

Dozens of distraught relatives are looking on, praying their missing loved ones will be pulled from the debris alive. Two more people are reported to have been detected by the rescue workers inside the building, but at the moment it is impossible to get to them through the rubble, so it is not clear whether they will survive or not.

The Ukrainian Emergencies Ministry says there is still hope of finding people alive.

It's reported that at least 20 people who were in the building at the time of the explosion, including three children, have been taken to hospital.

The entire building has been sealed off after some residents tried to return to get their belongings following the explosion.

Residents who escaped injury were taken to a nearby school.  They'll spend the night at local hotels and hostels.

Ukraine's politicians quick to react

The Emergencies Minister Nestor Shufrich has been to Dnepropetrovsk. He said the survivors will be given all necessary care.

Prime Minister Viktor Yanukovich has also arrived in the city. He met with survivors to inform them of the Government aid available. He pledged U.S.$1 million to facilitate a speedy recovery from the incident.

“People have told me that the services responsible did not react on time and we are now investigating this. The current work at the site has been organised very professionally. I have met several rescue workers who have experience of working in such situations. The cause of the incident will be determined by experts,” he stated.

Another well-known politician, Yulia Timoshenko, is also expected to arrive at the scene to meet the survivors.

Earlier, Ukrainian President Viktor Yushchenko called on the Government to find out what had caused the explosion and to provide all necessary aid to victims and their families.

A criminal case into the incident has been launched.

Dnepropetrovsk, in the eastern half of the country, is Ukraine's third largest city.