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18 Jan, 2010 08:50

Hospital blast kills sixteen in Ukraine

Sixteen people have been killed in a blast that ripped though an intensive care unit of a hospital in the eastern Ukrainian city of Lugansk.

Both staff and patients were victims of the blast that caused several floors of the hospital to collapse.

The Emergency Situations Ministry says rescuers have saved six people who were pulled from the debris. Emergency personnel continue searching for others who are believed trapped.

It is thought that up to 22 people may have been at the site at the time of the blast.

According to preliminary data, the blast was caused by a breach of safety rules possibly involving one or more oxygen cylinders.

President Viktor Yushchenko has sent his condolences to the families of the victims and opposition leader Viktor Yanukovich has promised to provide financial help to those in need.

The government says it will set up a special commission to investigate the incident and will provide assistance to victims.