St Petersburg is Russia's second largest City with a population of around 5million, increasingly popular with tourists, and cruise ship passengers who usually spend an overnight in the City sleeping on board their cruise ships in the nearby docks, to enable two full days escorted sightseeing.
Some visiting cruise ships may as a precautionary measure omit the port call from their schedule and temporarily suspend sightseeing overnight tours to the City.
Harrowing images from the blast area show 'shrapnel' type injuries and commuters stretched out on station platforms, after the device detonated on a moving Metro train between the stations of the Institute of Technology and Sennaya Ploshchad.
Over 17 yellow ambulances lined up outside the Metro entrance, medihelicopters and emergency vehicles seen parked in the streets, as the injured and wounded are attended to..
Central hospitals put on a major incident alert, and extra medical staff drafted in.
Passengers say the explosion took place amid so far unconfirmed reports of another bombing (later discounted), however a second explosive device has been found primed at the station, inside a briefcase, and made safe by the security forces (this has to be treated as officially unconfirmed).
The casualty total so far at 3pm BST is thought to be 50 people injured and 10 dead, the numbers include children, figures are expected to rise. It is also thought the explosion was caused by bomb-like device filled with metal shard-like shrapnel. FCO Travel advice for UK citizens has been updated.
The bombing comes as Russian President Vladimir Putin is in the city holding a top-level meeting with the President of Belarus Alexander Lukashenko.
President Putin has confirmed having talks with the heads of security services (FSB). Russian officials are urgently investigating whether terrorists are behind the blasts. Known dissidents are said to have been rounded up and interviewed.
JULIAN BRAY +44(0)1733 345581, Journalist & Broadcaster, Aviation Security & Airline Operations Analyst/expert, www.freelancedirectory.org?name=Julian.Bray.aviation.comment
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