Prague explosion at office building injures at least 35
Others may be under rubble, natural gas leak may be behind the blast
CBC – A powerful blast believed to be a gas explosion ripped open an office building in the centre of Prague today, injuring at least 35 people and sending shockwaves through the tourist-filled Old Town area.
Authorities fear several people are buried under the rubble.
The blast shattered windows in the scenic district of charming streets and postcard-pretty buildings and left tourists stranded on street corners with baggage-loaded trolleys, unable to get into their hotels.
An AP Television cameraman filming at the time of the blast said the physical impact could be felt on the famed 15th-century Charles Bridge, which was packed with tourists.
The blast occurred on Divadelni Street at about 10 a.m., in one of a row of several-storey tall brick buildings dating back about a century. The street was covered with rubble and sealed off by police, who evacuated people from nearby buildings and closed a wide area around the explosion site.
“There was glass everywhere and people shouting and crying,” Vaclav Rokyta, a Czech student, told the AP near the scene.
Prague mayor Bohuslav Svoboda ruled out a terrorist attack, saying the blast was a gas explosion.