Officials unsure whether wreck was act of terrorism
MOSCOW – An express train carrying hundreds of passengers from Moscow to St. Petersburg derailed late Friday, killing at least 25 people and injuring dozens of others, emergency officials said.
The state-run railway company said the derailment could have been the result of sabotage, fueling fears of terrorism.
The three rear cars of the Nevsky Express went off the tracks in the Tver province northwest of Moscow, the Emergency Situations Ministry said. Russian Railways said that four cars derailed and said 50 people were taken to two hospitals in the area.
Based on reports from officials at the scene, Emergency Situations Minister Sergei Shoigu said 25 people were killed, including two who died on the way to a hospital, and 87 injured. He said 32 people were unaccounted for, but that some or all of them may have survived.
State-run Vesti-24 television showed grainy footage hours after the derailment of a damaged car apparently lying on its side by the tracks. Its reporter called the wreck a “terrible catastrophe,” saying he was looking at a “warped” carriage and could see other damaged cars as ambulances drove in and out of the cordoned-off site.
Reporting to a crisis center in Moscow, an officer at the scene said the death toll could rise because five or six bodies were believed trapped under a carriage.
Russian Railways said the cause was not yet determined but one possibility was sabotage, which could mean a bomb or another deliberate action to derail the train and cause casualties. Russian news agencies cited unidentified officials as saying a small crater was found at the site of the wreck, leading to speculation that it could have been caused by explosives.