Sappers deployed after huge explosions at Russian munitions depot
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Sappers deployed after huge explosions at munitions depot
A series of explosions rocked a munitions depot in the central Samara region of Russia on Wednesday, causing plumes of smoke, raging fires and mass evacuations. Up to 13 million shells of various calibres are believed to have been stored at the depot, leading to fears of a mass detonation of unknown destructive power. While more than 1,500 firefighters have largely contained the blazes, combat engineers continue to search for undetonated munitions to prevent any more explosions.
About 40 combat engineers, commonly called sappers, were called onto the scene by EMERCOM, Russia's National Crisis Management Centre of the Ministry for Emergency Situations who provided these pictures, to dig into the ground with specialised equipment to search for any remaining threats. Sappers discovered approximately 300 artillery shells that weren't detonated.
Local authorities declared a state of emergency after artillery shells began exploding at an ammunition depot about 15 kilometers from the city of Chapaevsk. The first blast was heard at around 15:00 GMT on Tuesday, with further detonations rocking the area through the night. EMERCOM responded quickly to the explosions as they presented a clear and present danger to the local population, including the 72,000 residents of Chapaevsk.
Nearly 6,000 of these rounds were 122 millimeter artillery shells, and the rest were 23- and 30mm anti-aircraft shells, the Emergencies Ministry reported. A self-detonated artillery shell may travel as far as 1.5 kilometers before exploding, the ministry warned, urging civilians to avoid the area.
One person was confirmed killed in the incident on Wednesday, after a body was discovered while rescuers searched through the rubble. Thousands have fled their homes to escape the danger.