The Nevsky Express train bound for St. Petersburg that got derailed Friday evening killing at least 25 people was blown up, a law enforcement source said Saturday.
"Preliminarily, an explosion occurred under the ninth car," the source said, adding that the death toll could rise as new bodies were being taken out of the deformed railroad cars.
According to the latest data, 87 people were injured in the accident on the Alyoshinka-Uglovka section near the town of Bologoye on the border between the Tver and Novgorod regions, and 32 are unaccounted-for.
Three cars of 14-car train No. 166 that left Moscow at 19:30 Moscow time [16:30 GMT] went off the tracks two hours later, with two cars flipping over, according to eyewitness reports.
Passengers of the train that reportedly carried 661 passengers and 21 railroad employees said they heard a clap and some of them also saw a crater under the train. "There was a clap. The last two cars almost fell apart. I've seen such things only in movies," passenger Alexander said.
Those seriously injured could be delivered to Moscow hospitals by helicopters, emergencies officials said.
Russian President Dmitry Medvedev, immediately informed about the tragedy, ordered that all possible resources be used to render medical assistance to those harmed.
The Russian Railways (RZD) railroad monopoly earlier said that an act of sabotage could have derailed the train, but power outage on the railroad was also considered a possible reason for the accident. A Moscow police source told RIA Novosti earlier that the train driver had used the emergency brakes just before the derailment.
Emergency Situations Minister Sergei Shoigu is presiding over an emergency conference to deal with the derailment and its consequences. Medics, rescuers, Federal Security Service officers, law enforcers, and railroad specialists are working at the site.
RZD earlier said fifty injured passengers have been sent to hospitals in nearby towns. Those not injured left the site inside cars, buses and on another train bound for St. Petersburg.
Russian Railways said trains will move along a bypass route after the accident to keep railroad communication between the two largest Russian cities running. Several dozen trains currently on their way to St. Petersburg from Moscow will be delayed by at least 8 hours, RZD said.
It takes Nevsky Express trains that can travel at 200 kilometers per hour (124 mph) some four hours to travel about 650 kilometers from Moscow to St. Petersburg.
MOSCOW, November 28 (RIA Novosti)