Fireworks warehouse blast death toll rises to 16 in Armenia

Seventeen people remain missing two days after a fireworks warehouse blast in a market in Yerevan.

Rescue workers clear debris as they operate on the site of a retail market in the Armenian capital Yerevan
Rescue workers clear debris in Yerevan [File: Karen Minasyan/AFP]

Rescuers have recovered more bodies from the site of a fireworks warehouse blast in Armenia, raising the death toll from Sunday’s explosion to 16, according to the emergencies ministry.

Seventeen people remain missing, the ministry said in a statement on Tuesday, after blasts ripped through the warehouse in a market in the Armenian capital of Yerevan on Sunday, causing parts of the building to collapse and injuring at least 60 people.

Armen Pambukhchyan, the emergencies minister, said a pregnant woman and а young child were among the dead, and that search and rescue efforts were ongoing as of Tuesday morning.

Video shared by the emergencies ministry showed rescuers sifting through a smouldering pile of rubble and twisted metal.

It was not clear what caused the blast, which took place in the large Surmalu market, although authorities have ruled out an attack.

The Armenpress news agency cited the government as saying it would declare a day of mourning after the rescue operation is over.

Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan visited the scene along with officials on Monday, the emergencies ministry said.

Source: News Agencies