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Two detained over deadly Moscow metro derailment

© Afp

Video by Richelle HARRISON PLESSE

Text by FRANCE 24

Latest update : 2014-07-16

Two metro workers have been detained as part of the investigation into a deadly crash Tuesday that killed at least 21 people and injured more than 100 when a train derailed during rush hour, Russian investigators said Wednesday.

Several cars went off the track inside a tunnel after a power surge triggered an alarm, which caused the train to stop abruptly, the emergency situations ministry said in a statement on Tuesday.

At least 21 people were killed, Russian officials said, and 136 were hospitalised, many with serious injuries.

The accident is believed to be the most deadly in the history of the world's busiest metro system.

The investigative committee said Wednesday that it was holding two suspects – maintenance foreman Valery Bashkatov and his assistant, Yury Gordov – and added that high-ranking officials may also be detained.

"The detained have already been questioned," the committee said, noting that the men will soon be formally charged with safety breaches.

Russian national television described scenes of chaos Tuesday on the packed underground system, saying passengers on the packed train fell like dominoes when it braked abruptly.

AFP correspondents saw several helicopters and dozens of ambulances at the scene outside Park Pobedy metro station in western Moscow.

"I thought it was the end," one passenger told state television channel Rossiya 24. "We were trapped and only got out through a miracle.

Train 'just pulled apart'

Alexei Naryshkin, a presenter on the popular Echo of Moscow radio station, posted a photograph on Twitter of rescue workers carrying a body in a black bag.

"They are laying out the injured. They constantly go down with stretchers. They carry them out. Some are unconscious. Some are moaning with pain," Naryshkin wrote.

Another witness, a young man in a polo shirt, told Life News television: "I got into the carriage and after about 20 seconds, the light went out and the train was just pulled apart. I was just thrown into the centre of the carriage."

"Panic started," he told Life News television.

"We climbed out of the carriages and we saw a blockage, men took hammers and pliers and broke it down and we walked on. The train was smashed, the chassis was just pulled apart."

Moscow Mayor Sergei Sobyanin was at the scene and pledged to do everything possible to help the victims.

Golukhov said about 60 ambulances were stationed at the scene, while one seriously injured passenger was evacuated by helicopter.

Television footage showed rescue workers carrying the injured away on stretchers, while paramedics treated some on nearby grass verges.

"This is the most serious man-made disaster in the Moscow underground in its entire history," infrastructure analyst Alexei Khazbiyev told AFP.

"It is the most serious accident apart from terrorist attacks."

Opened under Stalin in 1935, Moscow's ornate metro is considered the world's busiest and carries some nine million people every day.

(FRANCE 24 with AFP and AP)

Date created : 2014-07-15

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