2014 Moscow Metro derailment

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2014 Moscow Metro derailment
Date 15 July 2014
Location Moscow
Coordinates 55°44′11″N 37°30′56″E / 55.73639°N 37.51556°E / 55.73639; 37.51556Coordinates: 55°44′11″N 37°30′56″E / 55.73639°N 37.51556°E / 55.73639; 37.51556
Country Russia
Rail line  3  Arbatsko-Pokrovskaya Line
Operator Moscow Metro
Type of incident Derailment
Statistics
Deaths 24[1]
Injuries 160 (estimated)[2]
Track diagram
  8  to Solntsevo (U/C) 
  3  to Slavyansky Bulvar 
Crash site
Platforms of Park Pobedy
  8  to Delovoy Tsentr 
  3  to Kiyevskaya 

On 15 July 2014, at around 8:40 am MSK (UTC+04:00), an outbound Moscow Metro train derailed between Park Pobedy and Slavyansky Bulvar stations of the Arbatsko-Pokrovskaya Line. Casualties reported include 24 dead and 160 injured.[1][2] Early reports suggested a power surge or a terrorist attack to be the cause of the derailment, but both were soon dismissed.

This accident was the deadliest ever recorded in the history of the Moscow metro system, and the second to occur due to a technical failure (after the 1982 Aviamotornaya escalator accident).[3]

Background

An 81-740/741 series train, similar to that involved in the accident.

The Moscow Metro, being one of the busiest in the world[4] and serving up to nine million passengers on a daily basis, covers 325.4 kilometres (202.2 mi) of route and includes at least 194 stations.[5] Despite having a reputation for reliability, the system has been increasingly suffering from mismanagement, cost-cutting practices, poor maintenance and outages in recent years.[6]

According to several media reports, a Facebook user announced that two weeks prior to the disaster, he filed an official request to the head of the underground system reporting "problems with the tracks." The user quoted from the reply received in his e-mail: "The tracks are maintained in conformity with the technical standards and tolerances. Problems with mechanical switches in the joints have not been detected, being that the size of the gaps correspond to the technical regulations."[7]

Derailment

The derailment occurred 300 metres (980 ft) away from the Park Pobedy station outbound towards the Slavyansky Bulvar station, near the railroad switch to an unused path of the Kalininskaya Line (west section). The switch was installed only weeks prior to the accident, as part of construction project initiated in 2013 in order to extend the Kalininskaya Line to the western part of Solntsevo District.[8] Surviving passengers who were unable to cross the debris were evacuated through several construction drifts leading to the surface shaft.

The derailment also caused a massive power outage on the line, and another train, which was located in the tunnel at the time of accident, some 200 meters from Slavyansky Bulvar, was also stuck and passengers had to be evacuated. There were no medical injuries reported from that train.

Early reports cited a power surge as the cause of the accident, but this has not been confirmed and remains under investigation.[9] Passengers on the train described cars striking one another, with most of the impact occurring at the front of the train as the leading cars piled up on each other. The final two cars remained on the tracks and were only slightly damaged.[10]

Victims

There were 24 killed in the accident (22 initially, 2 in hospitals),[1][2] and about 118 were hospitalized.[11] 17 of the victims were Russian citizens, the foreign victims included 2 citizens of Tajikistan, 2 citizens of China and one person each from Ukraine, Moldova and Kyrgyzstan.[12] About 42 people remained in "serious condition". Another 200 people were evacuated from the Metro; those with injuries were attended outside the station. Initial reports stated that an additional 20 passengers remained underground, trapped in one of the cars. The train operator, a 29-year-old man, luckily survived the crash, but was very badly injured and had to undergo cranial surgery.

An accident witness reported to a news agency:

The train derailed right in front of our carriage. The carriage that was across the tracks had a small fire in it and was full of smoke. We took the fire extinguishers and started to extinguish the fire. We then broke down the door into the next tunnel and some of the people who were able to move started to walk from the next carriage towards Metro workers, who led them towards the tunnel, which led upstairs. It had an elevator, but it wasn't very big, so first of all we put the injured in the elevator.

— Passenger Andrey Zenin, a survivor of the derailment.[13]

A spokesperson for the transport commission indicated that all passengers were "evacuated from the affected stations by midday".[4][10] Terrorist threat was suspected, but quickly dismissed in this case.[11] In the early morning of 17 July, personnel finished clearing away the debris and reported another casualty. In total, 17 corpses were removed from the debris, with the remainder of the victims succumbing to critical injuries within 24 hours of rescue. The tunnel was reportedly ready for repairs and night time maintenance as of 1:00 am local time on 18 July and restored to full functionality around 6:00 am.

Investigation

On 15 July 2014, the Investigative Committee of the Russian Federation[ru] opened a criminal investigation of the accident, according to part 3 of Article 263.1 of the Criminal Code (violation of the requirements of transport safety). Supervising examination of the accident site, investigators interviewed witnesses and employees. Vladimir Markin[ru], the Committee's official representative, said that several causes for the accident were being considered, but that all were technical, there being no connection with terrorist attacks. He stated that certain people would be investigated and suspects would be identified.[14]

On 16 July 2014, a senior track master and his assistant, who had worked on the installation of the new switch, were detained on a charge of negligence. According to investigators, they installed it incorrectly two months previously using a 3 mm (0.12 in) wire instead of special equipment to forcibly lock the switch, as it led to a yet incomplete tunnel.[15] This wire could have failed and gotten the switch stuck in an intermediate position, derailing the train. Unprofessional operation of the train was said to have been another contributing factor, as the previous train that had passed over the switch 3 to 4 minutes before the accident had been traveling at a lower speed, and thus had not derailed.[8]

On 22 July 2014, Ivan Besedin, chief executive of the Moscow Metro, was removed from office by Mayor Sergey Sobyanin. Besedin was replaced by former chief executive of the high speed railway branch of Russian Railways, Dmitry Pegov, in order to restore Muscovites' faith in the metro safety.[16]

Verdicts

The first trial on the matter ended and the verdicts were announced on 9 November 2015. Track master assistant Yuri Gordov was sentenced to 6 years of imprisonment, track repair deputy director Aleksei Trofimov, senior track master Valeri Bashkatov and deputy director of the subcontractor company "Spetstekhrekonstruktsiya" Anatoli Kruglov each were sentenced to 5.5 years of imprisonment. There is a separate investigation involving six additional defendants that was still ongoing at the time of conclusion of the first trial.[17]

References

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  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 Число жертв аварии в московском метро увеличилось до 24 человек [The number of victims in the Moscow metro has increased by up to 24 people] (in русский). ITAR-TASS. Archived from the original on 14 August 2014. Retrieved 13 August 2014. 
  2. 2.0 2.1 2.2 Alla Eshchenko; Laura Smith-Spark; Holly Yan (15 July 2014). "Report: 22 killed in Moscow train derailment". CNN. Archived from the original on 16 July 2014. Retrieved 18 July 2014. 
  3. Авария эскалатора на станции "Авиамоторная" [Aviamotornaya escalator accident]. metro.molot.ru (in русский). Archived from the original on 30 August 2010. Retrieved 31 August 2010. 
  4. 4.0 4.1 "Russia derailment: '12 dead' in Moscow metro crash". BBC News. 15 July 2014. Archived from the original on 15 July 2014. Retrieved 15 July 2014. 
  5. "21 killed, over 160 injured as Moscow Metro carriages derail in rush hour". RT. 15 July 2014. Archived from the original on 15 July 2014. Retrieved 15 July 2014. 
  6. Куда катится столичное метро? [What's up with Moscow Metro?]. Moskovskij Komsomolets (in русский). 29 April 2014. Archived from the original on 30 April 2014. Retrieved 15 July 2014. 
  7. Руководство метро в Москве предупреждали о возможности трагедии две недели назад [The government have warned Moscow subway about the possibility of tragedy two weeks ago] (in русский). TSN. Archived from the original on 18 July 2014. 
  8. 8.0 8.1 "2 Moscow subway workers arrested over derailment". CBS News. 16 July 2014. Archived from the original on 16 July 2014. 
  9. Версия скачка напряжения, как причины аварии в метро, не подтверждается [Power surge not confirmed as cause of the accident in the Metro]. Nezavisimaya Gazeta (in русский). ITAR-TASS. 15 July 2014. Archived from the original on 18 July 2014. Retrieved 15 July 2014. 
  10. 10.0 10.1 "Train derailment on Moscow metro kills rush hour commuters". The Telegraph. Reuters. 15 July 2014. Archived from the original on 15 July 2014. Retrieved 15 July 2014. 
  11. 11.0 11.1 "Subway derailment in Moscow kills 19; terrorism not suspected". The Globe and Mail. Associated Press. 15 July 2014. 
  12. МЕСЯЦ ПОСЛЕ ТРАГЕДИИ В МЕТРО. СУДЬБЫ ПОГИБШИХ (in русский). Dozhd. 15 August 2014. 
  13. "Emergency button broken, train driver silent:' Survivors re-live Moscow Metro crash". RT. 16 July 2014. Archived from the original on 16 July 2014. 
  14. "Death toll rises to 20 in Moscow metro crash – EMERCOM". ITAR-TASS. 15 July 2014. Archived from the original on 18 July 2014. 
  15. Two suspects detained in Moscow metro accident case Investigative Committee of the Russian Federation.
  16. "Собянин уволил начальника московского метрополитена" [Sobyanin dismissed the head of the Moscow metro]. 22 July 2014. Archived from the original on 28 July 2014. Retrieved 23 July 2014. 
  17. Неисправная стрелка указала на сроки (in Russian). Kommersant. 10 November 2015.