The explosion occurred in the building of the Polytechnic College. Eyewitnesses say shots were fired and the Russian authorities are calling the incident a terrorist attack
An explosion shook the Polytechnic College in the city of Kerch in the Crimea earlier this afternoon.
Several ambulance and rescue crews from nearby towns are at the scene, in addition to a helicopter.
What we know about the attack in Crimea as of the morning of 18 October: 20 dead, five in critical condition, three of which are in a coma. Another 50 injured.
At first, the incident was deemed a gas explosion. However, the press service of Krymgazset stated that the school was not connected to the gas network.
Some witnesses reported a stranger entering the building and the sounds of shots being fired.
Later, the National Anti-Terrorism Committee of Russia officially announced that an unidentified explosive device had been triggered in the building.
Employees of the Federal Security Service (FSB) are working at the site in addition to bomb experts. No data on detainees or suspects has been released.
The investigative committee of Russia has launched a criminal case looking into the explosion. Spokesman for the Russian President Dmitry Peskov said that the incident may be considered a terrorist attack.
College student Vladimir confirmed the information pertaining to a possible shooting to Novaya Gazeta.
“I was close to the dining hall. Before the explosion, several shots rang out. I heard at least ten. It was not an automatic, rather single shots. I heard some stranger had entered the building, but I did not see him myself.
An audio recording has been released on social media website VKontakte in which a girl, allegedly a student of the college, talks about what happened:
“We were shot at. We started to run … I bruised my hand. We ran, and the children lay down. <…> My friend was killed before my eyes. I saw her fall and stop moving. I saw the boys fall and their blood scattered everywhere. I saw it all before my eyes. I’m sitting on the floor and I can’t calm down, I’m shaking all over, I’m even afraid to be at home”, says the girl in the message.