Powerful explosions at a military depot in Siberia have injured 12 people and left one missing, and forced over 16,500 people to leave their homes.
Officials said Tuesday that a fire erupted on Monday at an ammunition depot near the city of Achinsk in eastern Siberia’s Krasnoyarsk region, triggering massive blasts that continued for about 16 hours.
Russia’s Defense Ministry said the explosions ended early Tuesday and 10 heavy-lift transport planes and 8 helicopters began dropping water on the depot.
The Emergencies Ministry said that 9,533 people have been evacuated from the area 20 kilometers from the depot and about 7,000 fled on their own as massive explosions sent plumes of black smoke high into the skies.
The authorities suspended air traffic within 30 kilometers of the munitions site, halted train movement and blocked highways around the area.
They lifted the air traffic ban Tuesday after the explosions ended.
The cause of the fire has not been announced but this is the latest in a series of blazes at Russian military arsenals over the past few years.