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Last Updated: Friday, 9 January, 2004, 08:48 GMT
Russian student survives bombers - twice
Wreckage from 5 December train blast
Both blasts have been blamed on Chechen separatists
The mother of a Russian economics student has been speaking of her feelings after her daughter survived two separate train bomb attacks in three months.

On 5 December, 21-year-old economics student Katya Malukova was travelling to university in the city of Pyatigorsk when a huge explosion ripped through the crowded train.

The explosion killed 42 people. Katya was among more than 100 people injured.

It was the second time Katya had cheated death - she was also caught in a blast on the same train which left six people dead on 3 September. That time she escaped unharmed.

"We don't feel protected at all - I certainly don't," Katya's mother Natasha told BBC World Service's Everywoman programme.

"I never would have believed that a terrible attack like this could be repeated on the same train - at almost the same time.

"I never thought it possible."

Improvement

Katya remains in hospital as a result of the December attack.

Her mother described her current condition as "improving".

"Her head's not hurting so much now, but it's still bad. She had severe concussion," she said.

I just hope that what has happened to our child never happens to any other child or mother
Katya's mother, Natasha
"Her ears were also damaged by the explosion, and they haven't improved, because her ear drums actually burst due to the noise of the explosion.

"She also has severe chest pains from the pressure of the explosion."

Ms Malukova recalled her reaction when she first heard he daughter had been injured.

"I was getting ready to go to work at about 7.50am on 5 December. The phone rang, but I didn't recognise the number," she said.

"I heard Katya's voice. She said 'Mum, there's been an explosion on the train, and they're taking me to the hospital now'.

Wreckage from 3 September train blast, that killed six
Katya escaped unharmed from the 3 September attack
"I began screaming, and my husband took the phone from me and began asking Katya what had happened to her.

"She just answered that she was covered in blood, and didn't know what was going on."

Ms Malukova said that her daughter had already been severely traumatised after being caught in the September bombing.

"She was in severe shock. She couldn't even look at a train for two weeks," she stated.

"It was only in the last few weeks that she had started to feel better about the whole thing, and wasn't so scared about getting back on a train.

"But then this second explosion happened, and this time the explosion was in the second carriage - the one she always goes in with all her student friends."

Psychological help

But despite having been caught in two bomb attacks, Katya will still have to travel by train to university in the future, Ms Malukova said.

"The only other way is by taxi, but that's not really an option for us - it's too expensive," she said.

"She has to keep using the train. But we're not even talking about that at the moment.

"She's got to get better. She'll need to undergo treatment for a long, long time. She'll also need psychological help.

"Her hearing also needs to be treated for several months. Then maybe, after all of that, she can return to her study. But even then it will only be part-time."

Ms Malukova said she did not really know how to describe her own feelings about the attackers, or the reaction of the authorities.

She added: "I just hope that what has happened to our child never happens to any other child or mother.

"It has just been a nightmare."


SEE ALSO:
Russian bomb victims remembered
08 Dec 03  |  Europe
In pictures: Russian train blast
05 Dec 03  |  Photo Gallery
Putin says bombers will not win
06 Dec 03  |  Europe
Four dead in Russia train blast
03 Sep 03  |  Europe



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