By Dmitry Ulasevich
A blast occurred in the metro in the evening, as thousands of Minskers were returning home from work. An explosive device of an unidentified type exploded at the largest connection hub — Oktyabrskaya metro station — at 17.54. Harsh black smoke crawled along the platform, with glass broken in carriages; all was in darkness, since the electricity was interrupted.
Gradually, those who had survived the event began to phone relatives and friends. “At the time, I was using an escalator from the platform to reach to the entrance hall of Oktyabrskaya and Kupalovskaya stations,” explains witness Dmitry, an estate agent. He can hardly choose his words from shock. “Suddenly a loud pop was heard and plaster began to fall from the ceiling. It was as if a wave had struck me on the back of the head. A strong sound immediately deafened me. It’s good that I was in the last carriage, so that I reached the escalator quickly. Otherwise, I could have been at the epicentre…”
Those injured were brought from the station on stretchers and by hand. Many were given assistance on the spot. We helped a tearful woman with burns to her face, called Natalia, who told us that it was as if she had been in hell.
“There was a fiery blaze and then complete darkness, cries and the disgusting acrid smell of burning…,” she recollects.
Following the explosion, people behaved bravely, not panicking, and immediately began to provide help to those who’d been hurt. Rescuers and doctors, who arrived at the Oktyabrskaya metro station within a few minutes, worked promptly and efficiently. Those injured were taken to hospitals all over Minsk, with over a dozen of people out of those brought to the Emergency Care Hospital requiring urgent surgery. According to Chief Doctor Victor Sirenko, they are in a serious condition, with injuries associated with ‘mine explosions, where limbs are wounded’. Hundreds of Minskers have expressed their wish to donate blood.
Deputy Prosecutor General Andrei Shved has told journalists that a criminal case has been initiated regarding this terrorist act.