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Moscow subway derails during rush hour, several dead

A Moscow subway train has derailed, killing at least 20 people and injuring around 50, according to city authorities. Initial indications suggest that a problem with the power system triggered the accident.

Emergency officials in Moscow said 20 people were killed and around 50 more injured on Tuesday morning during rush hour. Preliminary reports suggested that three cars went off the rails after a power surge triggered an alarm and caused the train to brake abruptly.

"The train braked suddenly as a result of which several cars were derailed," an emergency ministry spokesman told the Reuters news agency. Another spokesman for Moscow's emergency services said that the train, carrying roughly 200 people, had been evacuated and was stuck between two stations in west Moscow.

Moscow's health department chief, Georgy Gulokhov, told Russian television that one person was still trapped underground. The Russian Interfax news agency reported that two people were airlifted to hospital with serious injuries.

The train crashed between Slaviansky Boulevard and Park Pobedy stations during the rush hour in central Moscow. Several stations were forced to close temporarily as a result.

Mayor Sergey Sobyanin rushed to the scene of the crash, promising swift aid for the victims of the accident. He also announced that 65 buses would take to the streets to as alternative public transport. With roughly 9 million passengers daily, Moscow's metro or subway is a crucial connection for the some 12 million residents of Russia's capital.

msh/tj (AP, dpa, Reuters)