Russia: ‘I looked out but there was nothing, void’– Magnitogorsk tragedy survivor *EXCLUSIVE*

SOT, reporter (Russian): «So, you saw in front of you that what we see right now?» SOT, Alexey Pozdnyakov, survivor of the Magnitogorsk tragedy (Russian): «Yes, exactly. So, there was no stairwell, nothing. There was smoke, a fire, the flames began to grow from there. So, it was not clear whether this flat would collapse or not, and in general, what was going on. So, standing at the door, I... Еще could not see anything else.» Alexey Pozdnyakov, resident of the apartment block which had a section collapse in Magnitogorsk on December 31, recalled how he and his family managed to survive the tragedy in an exclusive interview on Friday. The Pozdnyakovs were sleeping in their flat on the fifth floor of the collapsed section, and woke up when they heard a rumble. “We had no idea what was going on. Our flat was intact, nothing was damaged. I stepped out in the corridor, saw the crack, plaster fell down, everything was covered with dust,” Alexey recalled. Recounting the course of the events, Alexey said that when he stepped out of his flat, the floor entrance door had already collapsed. “I looked out but there was nothing, void,» he said. Alexey's family escaped their apartment, which is a part of the collapsed section, by moving to their neighbours’ balcony. When they finally managed to leave the building, rescue services were already at the site. “Someone had already been provided with assistance. Others were crying for help,” Alexey said adding that he still could see people who were trapped, since the entrance of their apartment building had collapsed. “The people were standing ready and dressed at the windows but they could not get out. There was no stairwell, no way out,” he explained. Today Alexey feels worried about the mental state of his children since they were so frightened, and noted that they are being provided with psychological assistance. “I respect the fire safety rules but I am not confident that someone downstairs, for instance, does the same,” he concluded. At about 06:00 local time (01:00 GMT) on Monday, December 31, an entire section of a 10-storey tower block in Magnitogorsk collapsed, causing dozens to be trapped under debris in freezing conditions. A total of 39 people were confirmed to have died by EMERCOM. The Russian Investigative Committee reported on Friday that the forensic investigative experts did not find any traces of explosives after examining the site of the tragedy.

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