MOSCOW, July 15 (Xinhua) -- At least 16 people have been confirmed dead after a metro train derailed in Moscow during the morning rush hour on Tuesday, Russian Emergency Situations Minister Vladimir Puchkov said.
Moscow's deputy mayor Piotr Biryukov told RIA Novosti news agency that the train's engine driver was among the dead, and about 150 passengers were injured. The death toll may rise as rescue work is underway.
Over 100 people were rushed to hospitals by helicopters, 24 of them in life-threatening condition, he added.
Three carriages derailed during an emergency braking in an underground tunnel in western Moscow between Slavyanski Bulvar and Park Pobedy stations. Passengers were blocked in one carriage 800 meters from the platform before rescuers arrived. About 200 passengers have been evacuated from the stations, which are the deepest underground stations in the city.
Russia's Investigative Committee has opened a criminal case over the incident. Preliminary investigation suggested the accident happened due to a false automated fire alarm which requires emergency braking.
Moscow Mayor Sergei Sobyanin promised to pay each family of the killed 1 million rubles (30,000 U.S. dollars).
President Vladimir Putin, who is currently in Brazil, has been informed of the incident, Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov told reporters.