An express Russian train carrying hundreds of passengers from Moscow to St Petersburg was derailed by a blast under the tracks killing at least 39 people and injuring 95 others.
Three bogies of the Neva Express went off the tracks near the town of Bologoye, on the border between Tver and Novgorod regions, and the possibility of a terror attack has not been ruled out.
"The accident took place in the dense forest, where mobile communication is weak. So far the evidence points to an explosion," Russian Railways President Vladimir Yakunin told reporters.
The luxury train is popular with business executives and government officials. Emergency Situations Minister Sergei Shoigu said 39 people were killed when the last three bogies of the train got derailed. While 25 bodies were found inside the train, 14 others were flung outside.
Health Minister Tatiana Golikova said 95 people were being treated in hospitals in Tver and Novgorod regions. There were 661 passengers and 21 railway staff on the train.
President Dmitry Medvedev has instructed that all possible resources should be used to render medical assistance to those injured. He also instructed Federal Security Service director Alexander Bortnikov and Prosecutor General Yuri Chaika to investigate the incident.
"There was a bang. The last two bogies almost fell apart. I've seen such things only in movies," a passenger told TV channels.
In 2007, a blast had derailed the Neva Express train on the same route, injuring 60 people. An investigation into that terrorist attack is underway, with the main suspect still on the country's most wanted list.
Image: Police officers stand guard at the site of a train derailment near the village of Uglovka in Russia | Photograph: Denis Sinyakov/Reuters