By Lale Arikoglu. Photos: Getty.
A train traveling between two metro stations in St. Petersburg, Russia was struck by an explosion on Monday, leaving at least ten people dead and an estimated 37 injured. The BBC reports that the blast, which occurred at 2.30 p.m. local time (8.30 a.m. Eastern), took place in a tunnel between Sennaya Ploshchad and Tekhnologichesky Institut stations in the center of the city. A second device was later found and safely removed from another metro station, Russia’s national anti-terrorist committee said in a statement cited by the Guardian.
State news agency RIA Novosti initially reported two explosions happening at the stations, but the Associated Press later confirmed that a single unidentified device exploded on a train while in transit—several images show a hole blown through the side of the train after it pulled into Tekhnologichesky Institut station. According to the BBC, President Vladimir Putin said all potential causes of the explosion are being investigated, including terrorism.
St. Petersburg’s entire metro system, which carries over two million people each day (and is one of the deepest in the world), has been temporarily closed, as well as several streets above ground. Hundreds of people were evacuated from nearby stations, often considered tourist attractions in themselves due to their grand interiors. Flights are continuing to operate as normal out of the city’s Pulkovo airport, although security measures have been heightened. Ride sharing service Uber also confirmed in an email to Condé Nast Traveler that it would be providing free transport from the area until the end of the day.
Russia has been the victim of terrorist attacks in the past, yet unlike in Moscow, which suffered a deadly suicide bombing on its metro system in 2010, an explosion like this is a first for St. Petersburg’s transport system. According to the Independent, as one of Russia’s biggest tourist destinations, the city continues to see a steady flow of tourists despite travel warnings from countries like Australia and the U.K. 150,000 British visitors arrive in the country each year, with visa-free status for cruise passengers making it easily accessible for those who want to visit the historic city. Currently, no travel alert or warning for Russia has been issued by the U.S. Department of State, however the website describes U.S. citizens visiting or living in Russia as “potentially vulnerable to attacks by transnational and local terrorist organizations,” and specifically warns against any sort of travel to the North Caucasus region.
The blast comes less than two weeks after a terror attack outside the Houses of Parliament in London, which killed five people and injured a further 40. If you're a U.S. traveler in St. Petersburg, or concerned about being abroad during a terror attack, be aware that you can notify the nearest U.S. embassy of your whereabouts, status, and future travel plans at any time. You can also take advantage of Facebook's Safety Check feature, which enables you to keep friends and family up to date on your safety by selecting "mark yourself safe."
This story originally appeared on Conde Nast Traveler.
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