Russia: Bomb caused train crash

Investigators and rescue workers are seen amid wreckage and damaged coaches at the site of a train derailment near the town of Uglovka, some 400 km (250 miles) north-east of Moscow, Russia, Saturday, Nov. 28, 2009. An express train carrying hundreds of passengers from Moscow to St. Petersburg derailed, killing dozens of people and injuring scores of others in what may have been an act of sabotage, Russian officials said. (AP Photo/Ivan Sekretarev)

November 28, 2009 6:16:25 AM PST
Russian officials opened a terror investigation Saturday, saying that a home-made bomb planted on the tracks of the high-speed Moscow-to-St. Petersburg route caused a derailment that killed at least 26 people and injured dozens more. The head of Russia's Federal Security Service, Alexander Borotnikov, was quoted by the Interfax and RIA Novosti news as saying that an improvised explosive device equivalent to 15 pounds (7 kilograms) of TNT had detonated when the train passed over it Friday night. Remains of the device were found at the site of the crash, Borotnikov said.

"Indeed, this was a terrorist attack," Interfax cited Vladimir Markin, a spokesman for federal prosecutors, as saying.

If terrorism is confirmed, the train derailment would be Russia's deadliest terrorist strike outside the volatile North Caucasus region in years.

Witness accounts appeared to back up reports of a bomb blast.

"It was immensely scary. I think it was an act of terrorism because there was a bang," passenger Vitaly Rafikov told Channel One state television. He was unhurt in the accident and helped with the rescue, hauling victims from the wreckage and lighting fires for warmth.

The last three carriages of the 14-car Nevsky Express careered off the tracks Friday night as the train approached speeds of 200 kilometers per hour (130 mph), officials said.

More than 600 passengers were on the train when it derailed near the border of the Novgorod and Tver provinces. The rural area is 250 miles (402 kilometers) northwest of Moscow and 150 miles (250 kilometers) southeast of St. Petersburg.


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