Ukrainian authorities say 19 people, including two children, are dead
and at least 24 are missing after an explosion at an apartment building
in the Crimean resort town of Yevpatoria.
Rescue teams are
digging through rubble Thursday to find survivors from the blast that
tore through the five-story building late Wednesday.
They say 21 people have been rescued so far.
Prime Minister Yulia Tymoshenko and President Viktor Yushchenko headed
to Yevpatoria Thursday to meet with rescue officials.
President Dmitri Medvedev has offered to send naval personnel from
Russia's Black Sea fleet to help with the search efforts.
are working to establish the cause of the explosion. Preliminary
reports say it could have been caused by oxygen or acetylene cylinders
that may have been stored in the building's basement.
Gas explosions are common in Ukrainian apartment buildings, especially during the winter when residents turn up the heat.