Home-made bomb derails Russian express, killing 26

Death toll expected to rise, as police search for men who planted device on Moscow-St Petersburg track

A home-made bomb is believed to have caused the derailment of the Nevsky Express train between Moscow and St Petersburg on Friday night that killed at least 26 people, and injured more than 100, many of them seriously. The death toll is expected to rise to around 40.

The bomb blew a five-foot crater in the tracks as the train passed at a speed of up to 130mph, detaching and overturning the three rear carriages.

The head of Russia's FSB security service said that the bomb was equivalent to 15lbs of TNT, and a spokesman for the Investigative Committee confirmed that traces of the device had been found at the site.

A second bomb partially exploded at the crash site yesterday afternoon as railway workers cleared the debris, according to Russian Railways chief Vladimir Yakunin.

A criminal investigation has begun, with Interior Ministry personnel searching for suspects hiding in nearby villages. One was thought to be a red-haired man aged about 40.

The 14-car train, packed with more than 650 passengers, was speeding through forests when the disaster happened late on Friday, 250 miles northwest of Moscow and 150 miles southeast of St Petersburg. The train lights went out and it screeched to a halt.

Passengers told Russian media of carnage in the final three carriages. People had been "shaken up like a box of matches", said one passenger from the front of the train who had gone back to help in the rescue. "In the last carriage people and seats were thrown together and entangled; there were horrible injuries." One woman, Yekaterina Ivanova, said she was trapped for four hours as rescuers sought to free her. Injured passengers huddled around fires as they waited to be taken to local hospitals, which struggled to cope with the load. All but the most critical were removed yesterday to hospitals in St Petersburg or Moscow.

The line between the two cities is the busiest in Russia, with dozens of trains a day making the trip, many of them overnight. The Nevsky Express is a fast, premium train, making the journey in four and a half hours, and on a Friday evening would have been mainly filled with business travellers returning to St Petersburg. These trains are the fastest and most expensive in Russia, and the pride of Russian Railways. In just two weeks' time, a ceremonial launch was planned for a new, super-fast train on this route.

As far as terrorism goes, the most likely perpetrators would be Islamic rebels linked to the Chechen separatist movement, although authorities are refusing to speculate and no group has yet claimed responsibility for the attack. In August, a Chechen rebel website published a letter from a group claiming links to separatist leader Doku Umarov, stating that groups of fighters had been dispatched across Russia to target power stations, oil pipelines, and other key infrastructure as part of an "economic war".

A bomb blast on the same line derailed a train in 2007, injuring 27, and a court case into that is in progress. But this would be the first fatal act of terrorism in Russia outside the North Caucasus for years. Murders, hostage-takings and bombs are frequent in Chechnya and neighbouring territories, but the last time rebels struck a fatal blow outside the region was in 2004. Then, two planes leaving Moscow were blown up by suicide bombers, while another blew himself up on a crowded metro train. Russians will hope this attack, if a Chechen link is confirmed, does not signal the start of a renewed campaign of terror aimed at the country's very heartland.

PROMOTED VIDEO
News
ebooksAn unforgettable anthology of contemporary reportage
Sport
Radamel Falcao was forced to withdraw from the World Cup after undergoing surgery
premier leagueExclusive: Reds have agreement with Monaco
News
Rumer was diagnosed with bipolarity, attention deficit hyperactivity disorder and post-traumatic stress disorder: 'I was convinced it was a misdiagnosis'
peopleHer debut album caused her post-traumatic stress - how will she cope as she releases her third record?
Arts and Entertainment
'New Tricks' star Dennis Waterman is departing from the show after he completes filming on two more episodes
tvOnly remaining original cast-member to leave long-running series
Life and Style
Couples have been having sex less in 2014, according to a new survey
life
Voices
Holly's review of Peterborough's Pizza Express quickly went viral on social media
voices
Arts and Entertainment
musicBiographer Hunter Davies has collected nearly a hundred original manuscripts
Sport
A long jumper competes in the 80-to-84-year-old age division at the 2007 World Masters Championships
athletics
Arts and Entertainment
tvReview: 'Time Heist' sees a darker side to Peter Capaldi's Doctor
Life and Style
Walking tall: unlike some, Donatella Versace showed a strong and vibrant collection
fashionAlexander Fury on the staid Italian clothing industry
Arts and Entertainment
Gregory Porter learnt about his father’s voice at his funeral
music
Arts and Entertainment
tvHighs and lows of the cast's careers since 2004
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

KS1 Primary Teacher

£100 - £150 per day: Randstad Education Leeds: Qualified KS1 Supply Teacher re...

KS2 Teaching Supply Wakefield

£140 - £160 per day: Randstad Education Leeds: Qualified KS2 Supply Teacher r...

Year 1/2 Teacher

£130 - £160 per day: Randstad Education Leeds: Qualified KS1 Teacher required,...

Primary Teachers Needed for Supply in Wakefield

£140 - £160 per annum: Randstad Education Leeds: Qualified KS1&2 Supply Te...

Day In a Page

Scottish referendum: The Yes vote was the love that dared speak its name, but it was not to be

Despite the result, this is the end of the status quo

Boyd Tonkin on the fall-out from the Scottish referendum
Manolo Blahnik: The high priest of heels talks flats, Englishness, and why he loves Mary Beard

Manolo Blahnik: Flats, Englishness, and Mary Beard

The shoe designer who has been dubbed 'the patron saint of the stiletto'
The Beatles biographer reveals exclusive original manuscripts of some of the best pop songs ever written

Scrambled eggs and LSD

Behind The Beatles' lyrics - thanks to Hunter Davis's original manuscript copies
'Normcore' fashion: Blending in is the new standing out in latest catwalk non-trend

'Normcore': Blending in is the new standing out

Just when fashion was in grave danger of running out of trends, it only went and invented the non-trend. Rebecca Gonsalves investigates
Dance’s new leading ladies fight back: How female vocalists are now writing their own hits

New leading ladies of dance fight back

How female vocalists are now writing their own hits
Mystery of the Ground Zero wedding photo

A shot in the dark

Mystery of the wedding photo from Ground Zero
His life, the universe and everything

His life, the universe and everything

New biography sheds light on comic genius of Douglas Adams
Save us from small screen superheroes

Save us from small screen superheroes

Shows like Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D are little more than marketing tools
Reach for the skies

Reach for the skies

From pools to football pitches, rooftop living is looking up
These are the 12 best hotel spas in the UK

12 best hotel spas in the UK

Some hotels go all out on facilities; others stand out for the sheer quality of treatments
These Iranian-controlled Shia militias used to specialise in killing American soldiers. Now they are fighting Isis, backed up by US airstrikes

Widespread fear of Isis is producing strange bedfellows

Iranian-controlled Shia militias that used to kill American soldiers are now fighting Isis, helped by US airstrikes
Topshop goes part Athena poster, part last spring Prada

Topshop goes part Athena poster, part last spring Prada

Shoppers don't come to Topshop for the unique
How to make a Lego masterpiece

How to make a Lego masterpiece

Toy breaks out of the nursery and heads for the gallery
Meet the ‘Endies’ – city dwellers who are too poor to have fun

Meet the ‘Endies’ – city dwellers who are too poor to have fun

Urbanites are cursed with an acronym pointing to Employed but No Disposable Income or Savings
Paisley’s decision to make peace with IRA enemies might remind the Arabs of Sadat

Ian Paisley’s decision to make peace with his IRA enemies

His Save Ulster from Sodomy campaign would surely have been supported by many a Sunni imam