Powerful Blast Injures At Least 35 In Prague - New York News

Powerful Blast Injures At Least 35 In Prague

Posted: Updated:
Prague, Czech Republic -

(FOX 11 / AP) A powerful blast believed to be a gas explosion ripped open an office building in the center of Prague on Monday, injuring at least 35 people and sending shockwaves through the Old Town tourist district.

The blast shattered windows in the scenic area of charming streets and postcard-pretty buildings, sending glass flying. Authorities closed a wide area around the site and some tourists were stranded on street corners with baggage-loaded trolleys, unable to get into their hotels.

Authorities said two or three people were still believed to be missing, but sniffer dogs searching the rubble had not indicated that anyone was buried and the prime minister said it appeared no one had died.

An AP cameraman filming at the time of the blast said the physical impact could be felt on the famed 15th-century Charles Bridge over the Vltava River, which was packed with tourists.

The explosion occurred on Divadelni Street at about 10 a.m., in one of a row of several-story tall brick buildings dating back about a century. The street was covered with rubble and police evacuated people from nearby buildings.

"It's really immense and huge, almost like after an air assault or a bomb explosion," Prime Minister Petr Necas said after visiting the scene. "So, if we really prove what we think right now, which is that nobody died, it was very lucky."

Prague mayor Bohuslav Svoboda ruled out a terrorist attack, saying the blast was a gas explosion.

Prague is a major tourist capital, visited every year by legions of students, backpackers and others from around the world. In 2012, a total of 5.4 million people visited, with a large majority from outside the country - many from Germany, Russia and the United States.

Officials had estimated that up to 40 were injured, but Zdenek Schwarz, head of rescue service in Prague later narrowed that down to 35. He told reporters that 30 of the injured were taken to hospitals for treatment, two of them with serious injuries.

He said five people were treated at the scene, some bandaged and with faces still bloody.

Among the injured were two Portuguese women, another two women from Kazakhstan, a man from Slovakia and a German woman, although none of their injuries was serious, the rescue service said.

City Hall spokeswoman Tereza Kralova said the cause of the incident will be thoroughly investigated and "we believe it won't negatively affect tourism."

Windows in buildings located hundreds of meters from the blast were shattered, including some in the nearby National Theater, an ornate 19th-century structure that is one of the most important cultural institutions in the Czech Republic.

"There was glass everywhere and people shouting and crying," Vaclav Rokyta, a Czech student, told the AP near the scene.

The Faculty of Social Sciences of Prague's Charles University and the Film and TV School of the Academy of Sciences of Performing Arts are located next to the damaged building. Students had to be evacuated.

"I was in the bathroom, no windows, the door was closed. Honestly, if I had been in my bed I would have been covered in glass," said Z.B. Haislip, a student from Raleigh, North Carolina, who was in a nearby building.

The road closures caused major traffic disruption and confused thousands of tourists.

Rescuers were still searching the rubble, using sniffer dogs. Two or three people were still believed to be missing, firefighter spokeswoman Pavlina Adamcova said.

The building likely belongs to the Air Navigation Services of the Czech Republic, said Richard Klima, spokesman for the state-run company that provides air traffic information for civil aviation in the country.

Klima said about six other firms rented office space in the building.

The Prague blast comes the day after a possible gas explosion ripped off the side of a five-story residential building in France's Champagne country, killing at least two people and injuring 14 others

In 2006, another gas blast in Prague killed two men.

  • Local NewsLocal NewsMore>>

  • 'Broken Windows' tactic questioned as chokehold victim laid to rest

    'Broken Windows' tactic questioned as chokehold victim laid to rest

    Wednesday, July 23 2014 7:24 AM EDT2014-07-23 11:24:25 GMT
    The recent death of a man from Staten Island while he was being arrested by NYPD officers is calling into question a police crackdown on petty offenses to discourage more serious crime. Critics say policing based on the so-called "broken windows" theory can needlessly put people at risk and fuel tensions in the city's minority communities.
    The recent death of a man from Staten Island while he was being arrested by NYPD officers is calling into question a police crackdown on petty offenses to discourage more serious crime. Critics say policing based on the so-called "broken windows" theory can needlessly put people at risk and fuel tensions in the city's minority communities.

  • 3 NYC boys get recording contract approval

    3 NYC boys get recording contract approval

    Wednesday, July 23 2014 6:34 AM EDT2014-07-23 10:34:12 GMT
    New York City NewsNew York City News
    Three middle school students got permission from a Manhattan judge to sign a multi-year recording contract with Sony. The court's approval allows the heavy metal band, Unlocking the Truth, to record their first single Wednesday for The Cherry Group, a division of Sony. The Brooklyn boys had to get court approval because they are minors.
    Three middle school students got permission from a Manhattan judge to sign a multi-year recording contract with Sony. The court's approval allows the heavy metal band, Unlocking the Truth, to record their first single Wednesday for The Cherry Group, a division of Sony. The Brooklyn boys had to get court approval because they are minors.

  • FAA bans U.S. flights to Tel Aviv airport

    FAA bans U.S. flights to Tel Aviv airport

    Wednesday, July 23 2014 6:28 AM EDT2014-07-23 10:28:48 GMT
    The Federal Aviation Administration has banned U.S. carriers from flying to Israel's main airport for 24 hours. The FAA made the announcement at about 12:40 p.m. on Tuesday. This comes after two U.S. airlines cancelled all flights to Israel until further notice following a rocket landing near the Ben-Gurion Airport earlier in the day.
    The Federal Aviation Administration has banned U.S. carriers from flying to Israel's main airport for 24 hours. The FAA made the announcement at about 12:40 p.m. on Tuesday. This comes after two U.S. airlines cancelled all flights to Israel until further notice following a rocket landing near the Ben-Gurion Airport earlier in the day.
  • PoliticsMore>>

  • cEU Imposes New Sanctions Against Russian Officials

    cEU Imposes New Sanctions Against Russian Officials

    Tuesday, July 22 2014 1:28 PM EDT2014-07-22 17:28:55 GMT
    The European Union agreed Tuesday to impose new sanctions against officials deemed responsible for Russia's actions in Ukraine, amid mounting international anger after a Malaysia Airlines plane was shot down over rebel-held territory.
    The European Union agreed Tuesday to impose new sanctions against officials deemed responsible for Russia's actions in Ukraine, amid mounting international anger after a Malaysia Airlines plane was shot down over rebel-held territory.
  • Congressman Adam Schiff: These Are Tough Situations To Deal With

    Congressman Adam Schiff: These Are Tough Situations To Deal With

    Monday, July 21 2014 10:40 AM EDT2014-07-21 14:40:38 GMT
    Pick a spot on the globe and there seems to be a crisis the United States is dealing with.Joining us to discuss the situations in the Middle East and the Ukraine was Congressman Adam Schiff.
    Pick a spot on the globe and there seems to be a crisis the United States is dealing with.Joining us to discuss the situations in the Middle East and the Ukraine was Congressman Adam Schiff.
  • Israeli Shells Hit Hospital In Gaza, Official Says

    Israeli Shells Hit Hospital In Gaza, Official Says

    Monday, July 21 2014 10:32 AM EDT2014-07-21 14:32:23 GMT
    Israeli tank shells struck a hospital in the Gaza Strip on Monday, killing four people and wounding 60, Palestinian officials said, as Israel's defense minister vowed to press on with the war against Hamas "as long as necessary."
    Israeli tank shells struck a hospital in the Gaza Strip on Monday, killing four people and wounding 60, Palestinian officials said, as Israel's defense minister vowed to press on with the war against Hamas "as long as necessary."
Powered by WorldNow
Didn't find what you were looking for?
All content © Copyright 2000 - 2014 Fox Television Stations, Inc. and Worldnow. All Rights Reserved.
Privacy Policy | Terms of Service | Ad Choices