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Last Updated: Tuesday, 14 August 2007, 09:05 GMT 10:05 UK
Russian train derailed by 'bomb'
Derailed train near Malaya Vishera, Russia
Twelve carriages of the train came off the rails
Russian authorities say they are treating the derailment of a Moscow-St Petersburg express train as terrorism.

Prosecutors say an improvised explosive device caused the accident, which injured at least 60 people. More than 30 were taken to hospital.

A crater was found at the scene, in the Novgorod region. The train was on one of Russia's busiest routes.

Railway officials say 800m (yards) of track was damaged. Some people were pulled out through broken windows.

Witnesses say several carriages overturned and fallen power lines crackled overhead.

Criminal probe

The crater was 1.5m in diameter and 2kg (4.5 pounds) of explosive was used, investigators said.

Russia map
It is not clear who planted the device. Chechen rebels have carried out no violent attacks outside southern Russia for at least a year.

Investigators from the Federal Security Service (FSB), as well as the prosecutor's office, are at the scene.

The driver reportedly heard a loud bang before the train derailed, at 2143 (1743 GMT) on Monday.

"A criminal case has been opened under article 205, clause 3, that is terrorism," said Sergei Bednichenko, chief prosecutor for Russia's north-west district.

The engine and 12 carriages of the train came off the rails just as it was about to cross a river bridge, Russian Railways said on its website.

The incident occurred near the village of Malaya Vishera, about 500km (310 miles) north of Moscow.

Officials say 231 tickets had been sold for the express service - meaning it was only about half-full - and there were 20 railway staff on board.


SEE ALSO
Country profile: Russia
17 Jul 07 |  Country profiles




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