An explosion Monday on a subway train in St. Petersburg, Russia, killed at least 10 and injured dozens more.
The attack happened as Russian President Vladimir Putin was in the city to meet with President Alexander Lukashenko of Belarus.
The explosion hit the subway train as it traveled between stations. The train’s driver chose to continue on to the next station, Technology Institute.
That might have saved lives.
By moving the train to the next station the driver made it easier to remove injured passengers, said an official with Russia’s Investigative Committee. It also took away the possibility of injury, or even death, if passengers were to have walked along the subway system’s electrified tracks, the official said.
Russian officials later found and disabled another bomb at the city’s Vosstaniya station.
Searching for suspects
Russian news media reported that police are searching for two men recorded on subway cameras. Russian state television showed a photo of one possible suspect wearing what appeared to be the kind of hat common in mostly Muslim areas of the former Soviet Union.
General view of emergency services attending the scene outside Sennaya Ploshchad metro station, following explosions in two train carriages in St. Petersburg, Russia April 3, 2017. REUTERS/Anton Vaganov
President Vladimir Putin said investigators are looking at all possibilities for the attack, including terrorism.
"The reasons are yet unclear so it’s early to talk about them. The investigation will tell,” he said.
Appearing on Russian television, Putin offered his condolences to the relatives of those killed and injured in the blast.
In Washington, U.S. President Donald Trump called the St. Petersburg bombing “a terrible thing.”
Scene in St. Petersburg
All subway stations in St. Petersburg were shut down after the attack. It left many people looking for a way to get home after finishing their jobs Monday afternoon.
More than two million riders use the subway system each workday in St. Petersburg, Russia’s second largest city.
Video and photos showed injured people on the ground, bleeding on the platform at the Technology Institute station. A big hole could be seen in the side of what appeared to be the train’s third car.
Some people ran past clouds of smoke, some shouted and others held their hands to their faces, Reuters reported.
St Petersburg resident Leonid Chaika told Reuters, “I saw a lot of smoke, a crowd making its way to the escalators, people with blood and other people's insides on their clothes, bloody faces. Many were crying."
A woman lights a candle at an entrance of Sennaya subway station after an explosion on the subway in St.Petersburg, Russia, Monday, April 3, 2017.
In past years, Islamic militants, connected to Chechnya and other Caucasus republics, have targeted trains and planes in Russia.
In October 2015, Islamic State militants downed a Russian airliner leaving from an Egyptian resort city, killing all 224 people on board.
Chechen terrorists were blamed for previous subway attacks in Moscow, killing 40 people in 2010 and nearly 50 in 2004. The same terrorist group also claimed responsibility for suicide bombings at the Moscow airport, killing 37 people in 2011 and 90 people in 2004.
I'm Ashley Thompson.
Bruce Alpert adapted this story for VOA Learning English based on reports by Daniel Schearf of VOA News, the Associated Press, Reuters and other sources. Hai Do was the editor.
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Words in This Story
subway - n. a train that operates mostly underground
tracks - n. a pair of metal bars that a train, trolley, or subway car rides along
suspect - n. a person believed by police to be involved with a crime
condolence - n. expressions of sympathy for the death of a relative or loved one
escalator - n. a moving set of stairs that carries people up or down from one level of a building or station to another
resort - n. a place where people go for vacations