01 January, 2019
Four people have also been taken to hospital.
Authorities said rescue teams were to work through the night, with local temperatures expected to plunge to minus 23 Celsius.
The blast reportedly happened at around 6am local time, when many people were sleeping on what is a Russian public holiday.
Emergencies Minister Yevgeny Zinichev said at a meeting with Putin there were "presumably between 36 and 40 people under the rubble" as of Monday evening, agencies reported.
The Investigative Committee said the collapse of a section of the ten-storey apartment building was apparently caused by a gas leak.
One that was left hanging in the collapsed section of the building came crashing down as television stations aired live broadcasts from the scene.
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Oleg Klimov said 79 people were still missing, according to Tass.
Search and rescue efforts are underway for people still trapped inside, with over 400 emergency workers searching through the rubble.
They said some residents could have been buried under debris after Monday's accident.
Dubrovsky said later that some apartments were leased and in general, 120 people, were housed in the collapsed part of the building.
Russian President Vladimir Putin has dispatched Health Minister Veronika Skvortsova to Magnitogorsk.
Emergency workers at the scene of an apartment building in Magnitogorsk, Russia, after an explosion on December 31, 2018.
There have been several similar incidents in Russian Federation in recent years due to aging infrastructure and poor safety regulations regarding gas usage.