Fresno woman describes chaos as bomb rocks St. Petersburg subway

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At least 11 people died and 50 others were injured in the explosion that tore through the underground subway in Russia. (KFSN)

At least 11 people died and 50 others were injured in the explosion that tore through the underground subway in Russia.

Investigators say it was an unidentified device that exploded on a train traveling between two stations, and seconds later, smoke filled one of the stations.

A Fresno woman studying in St. Petersburg says the explosion shocked the city. The blast that ripped apart a subway car in a busy St. Petersburg station comes as winds of change appear to be blowing in Russia.

The explosion occurred at rush hour in St. Petersburg and in the busiest part of the city. Rosamond Herling of Fresno attends Wellesley College in Boston but is in an exchange program in St. Petersburg.

She was in class, not far from the subway station, when an announcement came over the school intercom.

"The school very hesitantly, and kind of stumbling over the words, understandably, asked all students to call their parents and let them know they are alive," she said.

The 21-year-old managed to call her mom in Fresno and then tried to make her way to her residence, passing by the carnage.

"I think people were quickly trying to get where they wanted to go to be safe," she said. "There were a lot of people on the street - more than I've ever seen before."

Able-bodied people were trying to carry the wounded away to safety. The Russian government appears to be blaming terrorists, perhaps a single suicide bomber.

The blast came as Vladimir Putin was visiting St. Petersburg and follows days of anti-government protests in Moscow and St. Petersburg.

"I would say there's a sense that something is stirring," Herling said. "There were protests this weekend, the weekend before that."

Fresno State University Professor Michelle DenBeste says the sudden unrest in Russia is surprising.

"I think it's interesting you have this big youth movement all of the sudden which seems to have come out of the blue," she said. "There weren't protests and then there were, what happened?"

It also follows the arrest of Alexei Navalny, a candidate who was expected to run against Putin in the next election.

Rosamond says the people of St. Petersburg are coming together and marking three days of mourning. She says the subway has already been reopened and expects to be riding it soon.

"I think some people might hesitate, but it is the backbone of the city, and I might catch myself hesitating for a second but I'm definitely ready to get back on the train."

No group has taken credit for the attack. The Russian government says a homemade explosive loaded with shrapnel was used.

Related Topics:
u.s. & worldbombingFresno
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