MOSCOW, Nov. 28 (Xinhua) -- The death toll in the derailment of a Russian express train has risen to 30, with 60 injured passengers hospitalized, RIA Novosti and Itar-Tass news agencies quoted prosecutors as saying on Saturday.
"The number of those killed in the Nevsky Express derailment has increased to 30, with another 60 hospitalized with injuries," said Marina Gridneva, an spokeswoman for the Russian Prosecutor General's Office. She said the exact number of the dead had yet to be established.
The Emergency Situations Ministry earlier confirmed 25 deaths and denied the report that the train crash death toll had risen to39. The acting head of the regional center of the ministry put the death toll at 39.
Three cars of the train traveling from Moscow to St. Petersburg went off the tracks at 9:30 p.m. Moscow time (1830 GMT) near the town of Bologoye on the border between the Tver and Novgorod regions, the Emergency Situations Ministry said.
The 14-car train was carrying 653 passengers and 29 railway personnel, latest statistics showed.
Russian Railways said the reason behind the accident was not yet clear, but the derailment could have been caused by an act of terrorism.
The Interfax news agency cited an unnamed source with Moscow's law enforcement agencies as saying that a hole one meter in diameter was found near the scene of the accident.
"Witnesses heard a loud bang before the accident. All this could point to a possible attack," the source said.
There is objective information indicating that the train was blown up with unidentified explosives, Russian Railways President Vladimir Yakunin told reporters at the tragedy site.
Repair work has not been started yet as the examination by investigators is continuing, he said.
Yakunin said over 60 trains carrying some 27,000 passengers were forced to change their route. They are expected to be delayed by at least 8 hours.
A criminal case has been opened on possible terrorist attack and illegal explosives possession charges over the wreck, the Prosecutor-General's Office said.
A bomb attack hit the same line in 2007, injuring dozens of passengers.
Once rampant attacks in Russia have declined significantly since Moscow largely subdued rebels in the turbulent North Caucasus republic of Chechnya, which has experienced two bloody wars in the past 15 years. The Kremlin formally ended its anti-terrorist operation in Chechnya in April.
Russian President Dmitry Medvedev has instructed Emergency Situations Minister Sergei Shoigu to take all necessary measures to extend assistance to those affected, the Kremlin said.
Medvedev has also ordered federal security service FSB chief Alexander Bortnikov and Prosecutor-General Yuri Chaika to investigate into the cause of the disaster.
The route between Moscow and St. Petersburg, Russia's second largest city, is heavily traveled by tourists and business people.