Europe

Two Moscow metro workers arrested after disaster

  • 16 July 2014
  • From the section Europe

Russian investigators have announced the arrest of two Moscow metro workers for safety breaches after a train derailed, killing 21 people.

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 (in Russian).

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.

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.

Deepest station

Image caption Rescue workers at the crash site in the Moscow metro on Tuesday
Image caption A rescue worker resting beside a map of the metro in Moscow
Image caption Scores of people were treated at the scene for their injuries

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 BBC's Artyom Liss, in Moscow, says 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, our correspondent says.

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.

Image caption The derailment happened in the west of the city

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