14 confirmed dead in Russia high-rise blast

Moscow (AFP) - Fourteen people are confirmed dead from the New Year's Eve explosion at a high-rise in central Russia, local officials said Wednesday, as rescuers continued to pull bodies from the rubble.

The local governor's office said 14 bodies had been found and that 27 people were unaccounted for following the gas explosion in the city of Magnitogorsk, nearly 1,700 kilometres (1,050 miles) east of Moscow in the Ural mountains.

Five people had been rescued from the rubble, including a baby, and 86 residents were located unharmed, it said.

"Work at the scene is continuing," it said.

Battling freezing temperatures, rescuers have been combing through piles of mangled concrete and metal and trying to stabilise what remains of the walls in the Soviet-era apartment block, which had been home to about 1,100 people.

The blast destroyed 35 apartments and damaged 10 more, leaving dozens of people homeless over the New Year -- the biggest holiday of the year in Russia.