Bloodied bodies lie on station platform after explosion rips through train carriage
Ten people were feared dead and dozens injured yesterday after an explosion rocked the metro system in Russia’s second city Saint Petersburg. President Vladimir Putin said investigators were looking into all possible causes for the explosion.
“Accidental, criminal and, first of all, terrorist,” he said.
Television pictures showed the door of a train carriage blown out, as bloodied bodies lay strewn on a station platform.
Emergency services vehicles rushed to the scene at the Technological Institute metro station, a key transport hub.
Andrei Kibitov, a spokesman for the Saint Petersburg governor, said: “We don’t know the exact number of those killed, but it is at least 10.”
A further 50 people were injured, he said, two of whom were undergoing emergency surgery.
The blast caused scenes of confusion, with traffic blocked on Moskovsky Prospect, a busy thoroughfare, and emergency vehicles rushing to the station.
“My mom was in the metro, I don’t know what’s happened to her, I can’t get hold of her,” one woman said outside the station, while trying to make a call on her cellphone.
The spokesman for Russia’s national anti-terrorism committee, Andrei Przhezdomsky, said the blast occurred at 2.40pm (1.40pm South African time).
Przhezdomsky said the blast happened in a train carriage between the Technological Institute and Sennaya Square stations, which are next to each other on a busy line in the city centre.
The metro network announced it was shutting down entirely after evacuating all passengers and Russia’s Investigative Committee also launched a probe.
While there was no immediate indication as to what caused the blast, Russia’s security services have previously said they had foiled terrorist attacks on Moscow’s public transport system by militants, some of whom were trained by Islamic State jihadists in Syria.
Russia’s public transportation systems have been targeted by attacks in the past.
In 2013, Russia was hit by twin suicide strikes that claimed 34 lives and raised alarm over security at the Sochi Winter Olympic Games.
A bombing at the main railway station of the southern city of Volgograd killed 18 people while a second strike hit a trolleybus, claiming 16 lives.
A suicide raid on Moscow’s Domodedovo airport, claimed by Islamic insurgents from the North Caucasus, killed 37 people in January 2011.
That strike was claimed by the Caucasus Emirate movement of Islamist warlord Doku Umarov.
Russia beefed up its security over the holiday period in the wake of the attack on the Berlin Christmas market that killed 12.
Authorities placed heavy trucks at road intersections to block off areas where public festivities were taking place after the attack in the German capital that was claimed by the Islamic State group.
Russia intervened militarily to bolster Syrian President Bashar al-Assad’s forces in September 2015, turning the tables on the battlefield just as rebel forces were strengthening their hold on key areas.