Russia's EMERCOM said 45 people were injured in the crash, 18 of them taken to hospital. Five of the injured are in critical condition.
The Interior Ministry reported that there were about 400 people in the passenger train as the total number of tickets sold stood at 394.
The death toll is likely to rise as one of the cargo containers from the freight train completely squashed one of the passenger train’s cars. Vadim Andronov Head of the Naro-Fominsk district, Moscow Region Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev ordered Vice-Premier Olga Golodets to make everything necessary to help the people affected.
Upon the train collision, a criminal case under Part 3, Article 263 of the Criminal Code of Russia has been filed (“Violation of transport safety rules and exploitation of railway transport, which led to death of two or more people by inadvertence”).
The investigators are examining the site of the accident. Circumstances of the collision are being specified.
A passenger train collided with a freight train between the stations of Bekasovo and Naro-Fominsk, located on the Kiev-bound railway some 50 kilometers (34 miles) from Moscow’s center at around half past noon Moscow time (8:30 GMT) on Tuesday.
According to local law enforcers, 13 cars of the freight train derailed near the station of Bekasovo and crashed falling into the passing by passenger train en route from Moscow to Chisinau eventually overturning three of the train’s cars with people inside.
Three helicopters, 30 ambulances and cars of the Disaster Medicine and Emergency Situations Center are underway to the site of the accident. “All medical institutions of the neighboring districts are ready to receive the injured,” the press service of the Public Healthcare Ministry in the Moscow Region reported. Public Healthcare Minister of the Moscow Region Nina Suslonova visited the scene.
Russia’s Emergency Ministry is increasing the contingent at the site of the incident. 300 specialists are expected to arrive. The ministry also called on all drivers currently on the nearby Kiyevskoye highway to give way to ambulances rushing to and from the scene of the accident.
Vladimir Markin, spokesperson for the Russian Investigative Committee, said investigators launched a criminal case on charges of safety negligence and other criminal counts.
Vladimir Yakunin, the chief of the Russian Railways, constantly informs Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev on the developments of the incident and the relief operation, Natalia Timakova, spokesperson for the prime minister, said.