Nearly 100 people still missing after Moscow attack, Russian news site says

By Lucy Papachristou

LONDON (Reuters) - As many as 95 people are still missing after last week's attack near Moscow when gunmen sprayed concertgoers with automatic weapons and set the venue on fire, a Russian news outlet reported on Wednesday.

The official toll from the attack on Crocus City Hall now stands at 140 dead and 182 wounded. But the Baza news service, which has good contacts in Russian security and law enforcement, said 95 more people appeared in lists compiled by the emergency services based on appeals from people about missing relatives.

"These lists include people with whom relatives have not been able to get in touch since the terrorist attack, but who are not on the lists of wounded and dead," Baza said. "Some of these people died, but have not yet been identified."

Russian investigators said the attack was carried out by four shooters using Kalashnikov automatic weapons. More than 500 rounds were found at the scene.

The shooting began shortly before the Soviet-era rock group "Picnic" was set to play to a full house of 6,200 people. More than 200 people could have been in the blazing building moments before the roof collapsed, Baza reported on Saturday, citing emergency service sources who reviewed surveillance footage.

Russian social media channels have been flooded in the days since the shooting with appeals to help find victims.

Gathering in a Telegram chat called "Crocus. Help Centre," friends and relatives shared names of missing concertgoers and offered support.

"Was there anyone on the list named Igor Valentinovich Klimenchenko?," one user wrote on Saturday night. "Can someone send the list of victims?"

The name Klimenchenko was not on the list of confirmed dead published by Russia's emergencies ministry.

'VERY WORRIED'

Another person wrote in the same chat that their uncle worked not far from Crocus and hadn't been in touch since the attack. "I'm very worried," the nephew wrote on Saturday night.

Local media in the Bryansk region, southwestern Russia, reported on Wednesday that a woman was still searching for her son, Dmitry Bashlykov, a schoolteacher in Moscow who went to the "Picnic" concert with a friend who managed to escape.

Bashlykov's name was not on the emergencies ministry list.

Several missing persons have since been confirmed dead, like 15-year-old Arseny, who went to the concert with his mother, Irina Vedeneyeva.

The SHOT Telegram channel on Sunday published a photo of Arseny that it said he sent his grandmother shortly before the concert began, along with appeals from the "grief-stricken pensioner" to help find him. His mother had already been confirmed dead, SHOT said.

In the photo, Arseny stands in a black hooded sweatshirt in front of a poster for Picnic, which SHOT said was his favourite band. On Monday, the channel wrote that Arseny's body had been found and identified by his relatives.

The names of both mother and son are on the list of confirmed dead published by Russia's emergencies ministry.

(Reporting by Reuters; Writing by Lucy Papachristou; Editing by Mark Trevelyan and Gareth Jones)