A rush-hour subway train derailed Tuesday in Moscow, killing 19 people and sending at least 150 others to the hospital, many with serious injuries, Russian emergency officials said.
Several cars went off the track in the tunnel after a power surge triggered an alarm, which caused the train to stop abruptly.
Alexander Gavrilov, deputy chief of the Moscow emergency services, said rescuers have recovered 7 bodies and are working to extract 12 more bodies from two wrecked train cars.
Moscow’s transit system has been previously targeted by terrorists but this time Russian officials have vehemently dismissed terrorism as a possible cause.
An Associated Press journalist saw injured people being taken out of the Park Pobedy station in west Moscow on stretchers and four medical helicopters taking off from the lawn nearby.
Yuri Akimov, a Moscow spokesman for the emergency services, said outside the station that about 200 people were evacuated from the train, which was stuck between two stations.
Park Pobedy is the deepest metro station in Moscow’s subway system – 84 metres deep, which made the rescue particularly hard. The station serves the vast Park Pobedy, where the Second World War museum is located and which is close to Moscow’s triumphal arch.
The Moscow Metro is one of the most famous subway systems in the world, known for its palatial interiors with mosaics, chandeliers and marble benches.
A man with a bloody cut on his brow told Rossiya 24 television outside the Park Pobedy station that he felt a jolt and the train abruptly came to a halt.
“There was smoke and we were trapped inside,” he said. “It’s a miracle we got out. I thought it was the end.”
While accidents are regular occurrences in the Moscow Metro, deadly incidents are rare.