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Two Moscow metro workers have been arrested for safety breaches after a train derailed, killing 21 people, Russian investigators have announced.

The track supervisor and his assistant are suspected of using inadequate wiring during works on the line in May, the Investigative Committee said.

They have been questioned and charges are expected to be brought soon, it said in a statement.

A power surge is said to have caused the crash, which injured 162 people.

Wednesday has been officially declared a day of mourning in Moscow.

Two Moscow metro workers have been arrested for safety breaches after a train derailed, killing 21 people

Two Moscow metro workers have been arrested for safety breaches after a train derailed, killing 21 people (photo AP)

The two men arrested, named as track supervisor Valery Bashkatov and assistant supervisor Yury Gordov, are suspected of failing to properly monitor work carried out on a track switch mechanism in an underground tunnel.

“The switch mechanism was fixed with ordinary 3-mm wire, which snapped,” the Investigative Committee said.

The Moscow metro, one of the world’s busiest, is a vital transport artery for the city, transporting more than nine million people on weekdays below its traffic-clogged streets.

The train derailed between Slaviansky Boulevard and Park Pobedy (Victory Park) stations in the west of the city.

More than 1,100 people were evacuated.


The packed commuter train was travelling from the north-west of Moscow to the city centre at the time of the crash.

The tunnel where crash happened was built about 10 years ago.

Critics accuse the authorities of spending too much on extending the metro system, and not enough on maintenance.

Park Pobedy is the deepest metro station in Moscow, 84m (275ft) underground, which made the rescue operation particularly hard.

No foreigners were among the injured, the Interfax news agency said.

Militant attacks on Russia’s railways and transport networks have killed dozens of people in the past, but the emergencies ministry said there was no suspicion of such a cause in this case.

The death toll of this morning’s Moscow metro crash has risen to 19, the Russian emergency ministry has announced.

Scores were injured, some seriously, when a packed commuter train braked abruptly between stations in the west of the city in the morning rush hour.

Some of those hurt were carried out of the tunnel on stretchers, with the most serious cases airlifted to hospital.

The cause of the crash – one of the worst incidents ever on the metro – is reported to be a power surge.

The train derailed between Slaviansky Boulevard and Park Pobedy (Victory Park) stations in the west on the city.

The death toll of this morning's Moscow metro crash has risen to 19

The death toll of this morning’s Moscow metro crash has risen to 19

Some 50 people were in a serious condition, the ITAR-TASS news agency reported, quoting a health official.

“The train slowed down abruptly, the lights went off, and then there was a spark of fire and smoke. We were blocked in,” one passenger told Russian TV.

Another, quoted by Reuters news agency, said: “We were trapped and only got out by some miracle. I thought it was the end. Many people were hurt, mostly in the front carriage because the cars ran into each other.”

A number of bodies were recovered from the wrecked carriages but some remained underground, officials said.

More than 1,100 people were evacuated.

The packed commuter train was travelling from the north-west of Moscow to the city centre at the time of the crash.

The tunnel where crash happened was built about 10 years ago.

Critics accuse the authorities of spending too much on extending the metro system, and not enough on maintenance.

Park Pobedy is the deepest metro station in Moscow, 84m (275ft) deep, which is making the rescue particularly hard.

No foreigners were among the injured, the Interfax news agency said.

Militant attacks on Russia’s railways and transport networks have killed dozens of people in the past, but the emergencies ministry said there was no suspicion of such a cause in this case.

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At least three people have been killed and over 80 injured as a train derailed on the Moscow Metro on the Arbatsko-Pokrovskaya dark blue Metro line on Tuesday morning.

A statement from the metro said only that a train derailed on the network’s blue line, without providing any details, the AFP news agency reported.

At least three people have been killed and over 80 injured in Moscow Metro crash

At least three people have been killed and over 80 injured in Moscow Metro crash (photo RIA Novosti)

There is no word as to the cause of the crash, in the west of the city.

The Moscow metro is one of the oldest and most extensive underground railway systems in the world.

Some of the most seriously injured passengers were taken to hospital by helicopter, Russian TV said.

The train derailed in a tunnel between stations.

News of the derailment was preceded by reports of smoke detected on the dark blue line of the Moscow Metro. Later, Moscow’s emergencies agency denied reports of smoke and said a sudden failure in the electricity supply to a conductor rail could have caused the accident.