MOSCOW, July 15 (RIA Novosti) – Ten people are believed to have been killed in Moscow’s metro system after three cars of a train derailed inside a tunnel during the peak of the morning rush hour, a deputy Moscow mayor said Tuesday.
“If we talk about those dead, today we see the death toll stands at around ten people. The rescue work is ongoing,” Petr Biryukov, who heads the city commission on emergency situations, told journalists.
The official said a total of 149 people have sought medical assistance and 106 of them have been hospitalized. Helicopters have taken 24 people who are in a critical condition to Moscow hospitals.
Biryukov said some people remain in the train cars and the rescue effort could last for about an hour.
A source in the crisis center told RIA Novosti “a total of 120 people have been hospitalized, 50 of them are in a critical condition.”
Earlier reports said over 200 people have been evacuated. Eight helicopters were involved in the rescue effort to take the injured to Moscow hospitals.
Moscow Mayor Sergei Sobyanin is expected to arrive at the scene of the accident.
The accident occurred in the tunnel between the Molodezhnaya and Slavyansky Bulvar stations on the dark blue Arbatsko-Pokrovskaya line.
Moscow emergency officials said “a power outage led to the launch of a false warning that resulted in the sharp stop of a train.”
Russia’s Investigative Committee is considering opening a criminal probe into the accident, Official Spokesman Vladimir Markin said.
A spokesman for Russia’s Emergencies Ministry, Oleg Voronov, has dismissed reports that a fire broke out in the metro.
Eyewitnesses said people were blocked in the train and were suffocating.