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MOSCOW, July 16. /ITAR-TASS/. Two suspects who may be responsible for the Moscow metro crash on July 15 have been detained, spokesman for the Russian Investigative Committee (IC) Vladimir Markin told ITAR-TASS.
“Investigators of the main IC investigation department today detained two persons suspected of transport safety rules violation (article 263.1, part 3 of the Russian Criminal Code). They are track supervisor of the Moscow Metro State Unitary Enterprise Valery Bashkatov and his assistant Yuri Gordov,” Markin said.
According to investigators, since late May 2014, preparatory work was launched on the stretch between the Park Pobedy and Slavyansky Bulvar stations for installing the rail switch mechanism to putting a new rail section into operation.
“A number of contractors and sub-contractors were involved in these operations. Bashkatov and Gordov were directly involved in this work and were controlling its performance. The work was improperly performed: the rail switch mechanism was fixed by a simple 3-mm wire that broke. This caused the electric train derailment, the death of 22 people and injuries of varying severity to more than 150 passengers,” he said.
According to Markin, the suspects have already been interrogated. “The investigation plans to bring charges against them and select the measure of restraint,” he said.
A complex of technical, chemical and other expert examinations is conducted within the criminal case for establishing all the circumstances of the accident. “The investigators also check licenses of the contractors and sub-contractors for working in the Moscow Metro,” Markin added.
An engine driver who works in the metro told ITAR-TASS that the railway switch mechanism was installed contrary to technical requirements.
“Apparently, this railway switch was not yet connected to the centralized system, therefore, according to the traffic schedule, the engineer was driving the train at a speed of 65-70 kmph,” the source said. Thus, the first car of the train hit a side track, derailed and rammed into the end face of the wall between two tunnels.
He explained that the persons who directly performed the work are so far among the suspects. “The Investigative Committee intends to find and bring to criminal responsibility absolutely all those involved in this tragedy, from the performers of the work to the management officials, whose job was to control and ensure in full volume the compliance with safety requirements in the Moscow Metro,” the IC official concluded.
Thirteen incidents have taken place in the Moscow metro earlier this year, no one was injured in them. Emergency situations in the Moscow metro were mainly caused by slacks of cables of metallic constructions, breakdowns of rolling stock, flooding of metro tunnels, fires and failures of switch assemblies.
On July 15, the train going from the city center stopped abruptly between the Park Pobedy and Slavyansky Bulvar stations after a power surge. Three metro train cars derailed as a result of the incident. Metro train traffic has been halted on the Arbatsko-Pokrovskaya blue metro line, and its power supply was cut off. Investigators are considering several possible causes of the train derailment in the Moscow metro. All possible causes of the accident are technical, there are no grounds to suspect a terrorist attack, Russia’s Investigative Committee spokesperson Vladimir Markin said. Markin also confirmed that the power surge is not considered as a possible cause of the accident.
“As you know, there are always specific people behind a technogenic accident. That is why I think that we will soon determine suspects in this criminal case,” the spokesperson added.
Twenty-two people were killed in the accident, and some 150 were injured. Accodring to Moscow healthcare officials, eight people are in a critical condition, and 47 people are in a grave condition.