5 Children Die in School Collapse

ReutersMen working Wednesday in the debris of a school that collapsed, killing five children and injuring four others, in Belyayavka, near Orenburg.
BELYAYEVKA, Orenburg -- Part of a school building in an Orenburg region village collapsed Wednesday, killing five children and injuring four.

An entire section of the two-story building in Belyayevka, 120 kilometers from Orenburg in the southeastern Urals, came crashing down, spreading debris over a wide area.

Local residents rushed to help firemen and police rescue children from the rubble, and emergency workers sent from Orenburg brought in a crane to help remove the piles of debris. "Eleven children have been taken out of the rubble, five of them are dead, four are injured and 800 people were evacuated," said a spokeswoman for the Emergency Situations Ministry. The school's children ranged in age from 7 to 17.

Prosecutors opened a criminal investigation into the accident for possible violations of building safety regulations, while experts tried to identify the main point of weakness in the structure of the building, built in 1962.