The teacher of five children killed when part of a school building collapsed in Russia has reportedly committed suicide.

The 43-year-old woman was found hanging just hours after her students were crushed to death by a falling concrete stairwell, according to Russiannews agencies.

"The teacher of the 11th graders, five of whom died yesterday in the school collapse... was found hanging in the yard of her house by her husband," Interfax quoted an official as saying Thursday.

The teacher was close to the victims, all girls aged about 17, school principal Larisa Tsepovod told the RIA news agency.

She said:"She worked in the school for 15 years and the events affected her very much ... she was the teacher in charge of these students."

As part of the two-storey building came crashing down near the city of Orenburg in Russia's Urals region, locals rushed to help firefighters and police.

Eleven people were pulled alive from the rubble.

Debris was spread over a wide area at the school, which is attended by children aged between seven and 17.

Hours after the incident Angelika Linkova, an official in the local prosecutor's office, said: "The main load-bearing wall of the building collapsed, not the stairwell."

But investigators are now studying the scene for evidence of criminal negligence during repairs to the stairwell.

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