A suspected bomb blast inside a train in the St. Petersburg Metro killed eleven passengers and injured dozens of others. The entire Metro system was shut down as bomb squads and rescuers responded to the emergency.
Russia’s Investigative Committee has launched a search for two people suspected of being implicated in the bombing. The information on the search for organizers and perpetrators of the explosion has been confirmed by the National Antiterrorism Committee (NAC) as well.
The explosion happened as the train was travelling between the stations Tekhnologichesky Institut and Sennaya Ploshchad of the St. Petersburg Metro, the NAC confirmed.
Terrorism probe has been launched over the blast by Russia’s Investigative Committee.
The NAC put the number of fatalities at 11 and the number of injured being treated in hospitals at 45. She said that the six people being treated in St. Petersburg hospitals for injuries remain in critical condition.
Health Minister Veronika Skvortsova earlier said that among the victims was a 15-year-old girl, who has burns and a head injury.
Images posted on social media show bodies lying next to the damaged car, with blood apparently spilt on a bench.
According to health officials, the victims being treated in hospitals vary in age from teenagers to as old as 70. They are suffering from burns, blunt head traumas, shrapnel injuries and lung damage.
Russia’s Investigative Committee praised the driver of the train for not trying to stop in the tunnel after the explosion.
“He acted right in the circumstances. The explosion happened in the tunnel between stations, but the driver took the right decision and brought it to the next station, which allowed evacuation and help to the injured to start at once. This may have prevented casualties,” the committee said.
Facebook has activated its Safety Check feature for users in St Petersburg. It allows people to let friends and family know that they are OK during a disaster or dangerous situation.
The St. Petersburg city authorities declared three days of mourning for the victims of the Metro explosion.
A St. Petersburg resident told RT that he “was going to Mayakovskaya station [not far from Sennaya Square, the station that was hit] when the alarm went on and the security guards started to block all the entrances. They just told people to get away from the area and suggested not using the Metro today.”
According to the resident, who identified himself as Alex, “there was a bit of panic in the eyes of the people,” both passengers and subway staff alike.
“As there was an announcement that all the stations will be closed due to technical reasons,” people understood that something was wrong and rushed to the exits, he said.
Alex also recalled that he saw ambulances and police cars arriving at the station.