The college is a vocational school for 850 teenagers aged 14 to 18.
Soon after the attack, Russian officials said they were investigating the possibility that it was terrorism.
Troops with armored personnel carriers were sent to the scene. Parents were told to collect their children from the city’s schools and kindergartens for their safety.
However, Russia’s Investigative Committee, the state body that investigates major crimes, said later that it was re-classifying the case from terrorism to mass murder.
An employee at Kerch’s hospital said dozens of people were being treated for their injuries in the emergency room and in the operating theatre.
Anastasia Yenshina, a 15-year-old student at the college, said she was in a toilet on the ground floor of the building with some friends when she heard the sound of an explosion.
‘I came out and there were dust and smoke, I couldn’t understand, I’d been deafened,’ she said. ‘Everyone started running. I did not know what to do. Then they told us to leave the building through the gymnasium.’
‘Everyone ran there… I saw a girl lying there. There was a child who was being helped to walk because he could not move on his own.
‘The wall was covered in blood. Then everyone started to climb over the fence, and we could still hear explosions. Everyone was scared. People were crying.’
Photographs from the scene of the blast showed that the ground floor windows of the two-story building had been blown out, and that debris was lying on the floor outside.
Emergency services teams could be seen in the photographs carrying wounded people from the building on makeshift stretchers and loading them on to buses and ambulances.
A second pupil at the college, who gave his name as Sergei, said he had taken a few steps out of the building into the street when the first blast went off. He was hit by debris from the blast and injured in the leg.
Sergei, 15, said he ran to another building, but said he could hear more explosions going off every few seconds. He took cover and after the attack was over, he was taken to hospital in an ambulance.
‘I arrived at the hospital, the scene there was awful. They’re bringing in people all covered in blood, some with arms missing, some with legs missing.
The attack drew parallels to the 1999 Columbine High School massacre in the US in which 12 pupils and a teacher were killed – with some saying the shooter used it as inspiration.
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