At least 23 people were killed by falling debris in the Siberian city of Omsk, a Russian Defense Ministry spokesman said Monday.
"Forty-two soldiers have been found in the rubble, 23 dead," Igor Konashenkov told state news agency RIA.
In footage shown by Russian media, one section of the building located within the paratroopers' training base had completely fallen through, and soldiers were shown clearing up the rubble. Hundreds of rescuers were working at the site, with 34 ambulances providing medical help, officials said.
At least 19 soldiers are hospitalized, according to Konashenkov. The base, where the accident occurred, also provides training for junior specialists in the army, including drivers and mechanics for armored infantry vehicles. Most of the victims were between 18 and 24, according to Russian LifeNews website.
Military prosecutors have been dispatched from Moscow, and representatives of the regional military investigators told the Interfax news agency that a probe has been launched into possible negligence.
Parents at the site
The authorities have organized several of the injured to be transported to Moscow by a military plane, Konashenkov said. A hotline has been established and dozens of relatives of the deceased have already arrived to the training base, according to Russian media.
"Parents of the solders on the training base, after arriving to Omsk, are now talking with psychologists at a special point that was set up," Konashenkov said.
Russian President Vladimir Putin expressed condolences to the families of the victims, according to his spokesman Dmitry Peskov.
dj/msh (AFP, Interfax)