19 February 2020

St Petersburg metro blast 'kills 10'

KONFRONTASI-At least 10 people are feared dead and dozens wounded in a blast in the metro system of Saint Petersburg, Russia's second city, according to local authorities.

Ambulances and fire engines descended on the central Sennaya Ploshchad metro station after the explosion on Tuesday at 240pm (11:40 GMT). Russian media reported earlier that there were two blasts, but officials later said the explosion happened in a carriage between two stations which are next to each other on a busy line.

"We don't know the exact number of those killed, but it is about 10 people," Andrei Kibitov, a spokesman for the Saint Petersburg governor, said.

He added that about 50 people were wounded, two of which were undergoing emergency surgery.

A huge hole was blasted in the side of a carriage with metal wreckage strewn across the platform. Passengers were seen hammering at the windows of one closed carriage.

Social media users also posted photographs and video from the scene showing people lying on the floor and a train with a mangled door nearby.

Russian President Vladimir Putin, who was in St Petersburg to attend an economic forum, said the government was considering all possible causes for the blasts.

"I have already spoken to the head of our special services, they are working to ascertain the cause (of the blasts)," Putin, at a meeting with Belarus President Alexander Lukashenko, said.

"The causes are not clear, it's too early. We will look at all possible causes, terrorism as well as common crime," he added.

Al Jazeera's Rory Challands, reporting from the capital, Moscow, said authorities had closed all of the city's metro stations as a precaution.

The Moscow metro also said it was tightening security following the the blasts in St. Petersburg. [mr/aje]



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