Rush-hour Moscow subway derails: 21 dead, 136 hurt

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Derailed Moscow Subway Leaves More Than 20 Dead And Hundreds Injured

By VITNIJA SALDAVA & NATALIYA VASILYEVA

MOSCOW (AP) -- A subway train derailed Tuesday deep below Moscow's streets, twisting and mangling crowded rail cars at the height of the morning rush hour. At least 21 people were killed, Russian officials said, and 136 more were hospitalized, many with serious injuries.

The Russian capital's airports and transit systems have been a prime target for terrorists over the past two decades, but multiple officials vigorously dismissed terrorism as a possible cause.

The Moscow Metro is world-famous for its palatial interiors with mosaics, chandeliers and marble benches. Park Pobedy, where the derailment occurred, is Moscow's deepest metro station - 84 meters (275 feet) below the surface - which made the rescue particularly difficult. The station serves the vast park where Russia's World War II museum is located.

It was unclear what caused the train to derail. Lines of inquiry included a fault in one of the cars or the sinking of the roadbed, according to Vladimir Markin, spokesman for Russia's top investigative body. He said other officials who said earlier that a power surge triggered an alarm, causing the train to stop abruptly, were incorrect.

Of the 136 people hospitalized, at least 42 were in grave condition, health officials said. One citizen of China and one citizen of Tajikistan were among those killed, Russian news agencies quoted city officials as saying.

Over 1,100 people were evacuated from the train, which was stuck between two stations, in a rescue operation that lasted at least 12 hours.

By evening, rescuers had recovered all but two of the bodies trapped in the wrecked train cars, said Yury Akimov, deputy chief of Moscow's emergency services. One woman taken from the scene died at a Moscow hospital.

In video released by the Emergency Situations Ministry, several wrecked train cars looked almost coiled, occupying the entire width of the tunnel. Workers were trying to force open the mangled doors of one car to retrieve bodies. Photos posted on social media sites showed passengers walking along the tracks in the dimly lit tunnel.

Russian officials rushed to open an investigation into the accident. President Vladimir Putin, who is traveling in Brazil, demanded a detailed investigation into the "reasons for the event" and asked the country's top investigators to open a criminal case, his spokesman told Russian news agencies.

Mayor Sergei Sobyanin also told reporters that unnamed officials will not only be fired but also charged with crimes, though he would not say what charges they might face. Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev offered his condolences for the victims and their families.

Dozens of injured people were carried out of the station on stretchers. Paramedics carried one woman covered with a blanket to the lawn by the Triumphal Arch, which commemorates Russia's victory over Napoleon, and put her on a helicopter ambulance.

Several survivors sat on the sidewalk near the station's entrance in an apparent state of shock, drinking water supplied by authorities on a hot summer day.

Witnesses told Rossiya 24 television that they felt a sharp impact that knocked them off their feet and hurled them across the train cars.

"Everybody spun to one side," said one witness. "There was a sharp brake, and smoke was in the air. People couldn't leave for a long time. The way was blocked."

While technical glitches are regular occurrences in the Moscow Metro, the subway hasn't seen deadly accidents in decades.

Terrorism is another matter. More than 100 people have been killed in bombings on Moscow's subway trains or near stations since 2000, including two bomb blasts on the same day in 2010 that killed a total of 40 people.

Rush-hour Moscow subway derails: 21 dead, 136 hurt
People pay their last respects while passing the coffin of Russian human rights activist Valeriya Novodvorskaya during a farewell ceremony inside the Sakhavov's center in Moscow, Russia, Wednesday, July 16, 2014. Novodvorskaya died in Moscow at the age of 64. Official coverage in Russia of Novodvorskaya's passing has been muted, and President Putin's office issued a laconic statement.(AP Photo/Alexander Zemlianichenko)
In this frame grab provided by the Russian Ministry for Emergency Situations shows frame grab from a video showing rescue teams working inside the tunnel where several cars of the wrecked train look almost coiled, occupying the entire space of the tunnel of Moscow subway in Moscow, Russia, on Tuesday, July 15, 2014. Workers were seen trying to force open the mangled doors of the car where dead bodies are supposed to be. A rush-hour subway train derailed in Moscow Tuesday, killing about a dozen people and injuring at least 150, emergency officials said. Several cars left the track in the tunnel after a power surge triggered an alarm, which caused the train to stop abruptly. (AP Photo/Russian Emergency Situation Ministry)
MOSCOW, RUSSIA - JULY 15: Search and rescue teams of Ministry of Emergency Situations evacuate passengers injured after three subway cars derailed in Moscow,Russia on July 15, 2014. Twenty people died and dozens were injured today after three cars of the subway derailed in the Moscow metro in a tunnel between Park Pobedy and Slavyansky Bulvar stations on July 15, 2014 in Moscow, Russia. (Photo by Gleb Shchelkunov/Kommersant Photo via Getty Images)
Flowers are fixed on doors as an unidentified man walks past an entrance of Slavaynsky boulevard subway station, in Moscow, Russia, on Wednesday, July 16, 2014. A rush-hour subway train derailed in Moscow Tuesday, killing 20 people and injuring at least 150, emergency officials said. The cause of the derailment is being investigated. (AP Photo/Ivan Sekretarev)
People pay their last respects while passing the coffin of Russian human rights activist Valeriya Novodvorskaya during a farewell ceremony inside the Sakhavov's center in Moscow, Russia, Wednesday, July 16, 2014. Novodvorskaya died in Moscow at the age of 64. Official coverage in Russia of Novodvorskaya's passing has been muted, and President Putin's office issued a laconic statement.(AP Photo/Alexander Zemlianichenko)
Paramedics and a police officer carry an injured man out from a subway station after a rush-hour subway train derailment in Moscow, Russia, on Tuesday, July 15, 2014. A rush-hour subway train derailed in Moscow Tuesday, killing about dozen people and injuring at least 106, emergency officials said. Several cars left the track in the tunnel after a power surge triggered an alarm, which caused the train to stop abruptly. (AP Photo/Ivan Sekretarev)
In this photo taken on Tuesday, July 15, 2014 bodies of victims lie on rails in a tunnel after a train derailed between two subway stations in Moscow, Russia. Investigators detained two Moscow subway workers Wednesday in the wake of the deadly rush-hour derailment that killed at least 22 people and injured 136 others. (AP Photo)
In this frame grab provided by the Russian Ministry for Emergency Situations shows frame grab from a video showing rescue teams working inside the tunnel where several cars of the wrecked train look almost coiled, occupying the entire space of the tunnel of Moscow subway in Moscow, Russia, on Tuesday, July 15, 2014. Workers were seen trying to force open the mangled doors of the car where dead bodies are supposed to be. A rush-hour subway train derailed in Moscow Tuesday, killing about a dozen people and injuring at least 150, emergency officials said. Several cars left the track in the tunnel after a power surge triggered an alarm, which caused the train to stop abruptly. (AP Photo/Russian Emergency Situation Ministry)
People pay their last respects while passing the coffin of Russian human rights activist Valeriya Novodvorskaya during a farewell ceremony inside the Sakhavov's center in Moscow, Russia, Wednesday, July 16, 2014. Novodvorskaya died in Moscow at the age of 64. Official coverage in Russia of Novodvorskaya's passing has been muted, and President Putin's office issued a laconic statement. (AP Photo/Alexander Zemlianichenko)
People pay their last respects while passing the coffin of Russian human rights activist Valeriya Novodvorskaya during a farewell ceremony inside the Sakhavov's center in Moscow, Russia, Wednesday, July 16, 2014. Novodvorskaya died in Moscow at the age of 64. Official coverage in Russia of Novodvorskaya's passing has been muted, and President Putin's office issued a laconic statement.(AP Photo/Alexander Zemlianichenko)
Flowers are fixed on a door as an unidentified man walks past an entrance of Slavaynsky boulevard subway station, in Moscow, Russia, on Wednesday, July 16, 2014. A rush-hour subway train derailed in Moscow Tuesday, killing 20 people and injuring at least 150, emergency officials said. The cause of the derailment is being investigated. (AP Photo/Ivan Sekretarev)
MOSCOW, RUSSIA - JULY 15: Search and rescue teams of Ministry of Emergency Situations evacuate passengers injured after three subway cars derailed in Moscow,Russia on July 15, 2014. Twenty people died and dozens were injured today after three cars of the subway derailed in the Moscow metro in a tunnel between Park Pobedy and Slavyansky Bulvar stations on July 15, 2014 in Moscow, Russia. (Photo by Gleb Shchelkunov/Kommersant Photo via Getty Images)
MOSCOW, RUSSIA - JULY 15: Search and rescue teams of Ministry of Emergency Situations evacuate passengers injured after three subway cars derailed in Moscow,Russia on July 15, 2014. Twenty people died and dozens were injured today after three cars of the subway derailed in the Moscow metro in a tunnel between Park Pobedy and Slavyansky Bulvar stations on July 15, 2014 in Moscow, Russia. (Photo by Gleb Shchelkunov/Kommersant Photo via Getty Images)
Paramedics, a police officer and a voluenteer carry an injured man out from a subway station after a rush-hour subway train derailment in Moscow, Russia, on Tuesday, July 15, 2014. A rush-hour subway train derailed in Moscow Tuesday, killing about a dozen people and injuring at least 106, emergency officials said. Several cars left the track in the tunnel after a power surge triggered an alarm, which caused the train to stop abruptly. (AP Photo/Ivan Sekretarev)
MOSCOW, RUSSIA - JULY 15: Search and rescue teams of Ministry of Emergency Situations evacuate passengers injured after three subway cars derailed in Moscow,Russia on July 15, 2014. Twenty people died and dozens were injured today after three cars of the subway derailed in the Moscow metro in a tunnel between Park Pobedy and Slavyansky Bulvar stations on July 15, 2014 in Moscow, Russia. (Photo by Gleb Shchelkunov/Kommersant Photo via Getty Images)
MOSCOW, RUSSIA - JULY 15: Search and rescue teams of Ministry of Emergency Situations evacuate passengers injured after three subway cars derailed in Moscow,Russia on July 15, 2014. Twenty people died and dozens were injured today after three cars of the subway derailed in the Moscow metro in a tunnel between Park Pobedy and Slavyansky Bulvar stations on July 15, 2014 in Moscow, Russia. (Photo by Gleb Shchelkunov/Kommersant Photo via Getty Images)
Paramedics, a police officer and a volunteer carry an injured man out from a subway station after a rush-hour subway train derailment in Moscow, Russia, on Tuesday, July 15, 2014. A rush-hour subway train derailed in Moscow Tuesday, killing about a dozen people and injuring at least 106, emergency officials said. Several cars left the track in the tunnel after a power surge triggered an alarm, which caused the train to stop abruptly. (AP Photo/Ivan Sekretarev)
Paramedics carry an injured man out from a subway station after a rush-hour subway train derailment, to be transported by a medical helicopter in Moscow, Russia, on Tuesday, July 15, 2014. A rush-hour subway train derailed in Moscow Tuesday, killing about a dozen people and injuring at least 106, emergency officials said. Several cars left the track in the tunnel after a power surge triggered an alarm, which caused the train to stop abruptly. (AP Photo/Ivan Sekretarev)
Paramedics carry an injured man out from a subway station after a rush-hour subway train derailment in Moscow, Russia, on Tuesday, July 15, 2014. A rush-hour subway train derailed in Moscow Tuesday, killing about dozen people and injuring at least 106, emergency officials said. Several cars left the track in the tunnel after a power surge triggered an alarm, which caused the train to stop abruptly. (AP Photo/Ivan Sekretarev)
Paramedics carry an injured man out from a subway station after a rush-hour subway train derailment in Moscow, Russia, on Tuesday, July 15, 2014. A rush-hour subway train derailed in Moscow Tuesday, killing about a dozen people and injuring at least 106, emergency officials said. Several cars left the track in the tunnel after a power surge triggered an alarm, which caused the train to stop abruptly. (AP Photo/Ivan Sekretarev)
In this photo taken on Tuesday, July 15, 2014 rescuers work in a tunnel after a train derailed between two subway stations in Moscow, Russia. Investigators detained two Moscow subway workers Wednesday in the wake of the deadly rush-hour derailment that killed at least 22 people and injured 136 others. (AP Photo)
In this photo taken on Tuesday, July 15, 2014 rescuers carry a stretcher with a victim from a tunnel after a train derailed between two subway stations in Moscow, Russia. Investigators detained two Moscow subway workers Wednesday in the wake of the deadly rush-hour derailment that killed at least 22 people and injured 136 others. (AP Photo)
In this photo taken on Tuesday, July 15, 2014, a Chinese foreign defense attache takes a photo of Ukrainian refugees as they wait to cross the border at a Russia's border crossing checkpoint near the Russian town of Donetsk, Rostov-on-Don region. A delegation of international military attaches based in Moscow on Tuesday toured the Russian border town of Donetsk which Russia claims was hit by Ukraine mortar fire. Accompanied by foreign journalists, the officials examined a residential building damaged by rocket fire and a series of craters next to a border crossing, and also spoke to local residents. The trip was organized by the Russian Defense Ministry and described as an "act of good will." (AP Photo/Pavel Golovkin)
Emergency Ministry firefighters carry an injured man out from a subway station after a rush-hour subway train derailment in Moscow, Russia, on Tuesday, July 15, 2014. A rush-hour subway train derailed in Moscow Tuesday, killing about a dozen people and injuring at least 106, emergency officials said. Several cars left the track in the tunnel after a power surge triggered an alarm, which caused the train to stop abruptly. (AP Photo/Ivan Sekretarev)
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