Russian train derailment death toll hits 26, police release sketch of possible suspect

Monday, November 30, 2009

Russian train toll hits 26; Police release sketch

MOSCOW — The death toll from Russia’s deadly train derailment rose to 26 Monday after a wounded passenger died and police released a composite sketch of a man thought to be involved in bombing the train.

Health Minister Tatyana Golikova said a woman injured in the Friday night derailment died Monday in a Moscow clinic, three Russian news agencies reported.

Authorities say Friday’s derailment of an express train speeding from Moscow to St. Petersburg was caused by a bomb planted on the track. The blast gouged out a five-foot (1.5 meter) crater and sent the final three carriages of the 14-car Nevsky Express hurtling off the rails.

Conflicting figures from different officials have led to confusion over the death toll. Health officials reduced the toll by one on Sunday, citing more reliable information.

No suspects or motive have been named, but police released a computerized sketch Monday of possible suspect. It was unclear if the black-and-white composite depicted the suspect whom Interior Minister Rashid Nurgaliyev spoke of Saturday, a man about 40 with ginger hair.

Meanwhile, the business daily Kommersant cited an unnamed police source as saying authorities suspect the latest bombing involved the same criminal group linked to an almost identical attack on the same track in 2007. The 2007 attack injured dozens in the train that passed over; the motive went unexplained.

The Moscow-St.Petersburg train line is very popular with Russian business executives and government officials.

Two suspects in the 2007 blast were detained but a third, Pavel Kolosapov, a former military officer believed to have links to Chechen separatists, remains a fugitive.

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