By RFE RL
(RFE/RL) — An explosion has hit a metro station in the center of the Belarusian capital during rush hour, reportedly causing several fatalities and injuring more than a dozen.
The blast occurred at the Oktyabrskaya metro station in downtown Minsk, not far from President Alyaksandr Lukashenka’s offices.
An RFE/RL correspondent who was entering the metro when she heard the explosion, Valyantsina Aksak, reported seeing fire after the explosion and the metro station being pitched into darkness.
She said she saw “corpses” and people trying to help victims whose clothes were on fire.
Aksak said that there were many commuters at the station when the explosion hit, around 6:00 p.m. local time.
“People in the back didn’t know what was going on,” Aksak reported. “Those who were near the explosion rushed to the opposite exit and many of them were on fire. I saw several people who were simply pillars of fire.”
At least 12 fire engines and 10 ambulances were on the scene, according to RFE/RL’s Russian Service.
State news agency Belta, quoting its own correspondent at the scene, said several people had been killed.
A man who gave only his first name, Henadz, told RFE/RL that he was unsure whether the explosion had struck a train or the platform.
There was no initial indication of who might have been responsible.