Page 2 of 2   <      

Moscow airport blast: Suicide bomb kills 35

There was no immediate assertion of responsibility for the attack, which killed 35 people and injured 86, 40 of them critically.

Many of the flights arriving at Domodedovo on Monday happened to be delayed, which may have saved some lives. Witnesses said the reception area where the explosion took place was less crowded than it might have been. A taxi driver who survived said he thought most of the victims were fellow drivers, many holding signs to catch the attention of arriving passengers. Others in the crowd may have been Tajiks, waiting to greet friends and relatives who were on an overdue flight from Dushanbe.

At 3:52 p.m., according to the Russian Air Transport Agency, a flight from Dusseldorf, Germany, more than an hour late, set down at Domodedovo. Eleven minutes later, a flight from Vienna landed, closely followed by one from Odessa, Ukraine's Black Sea port. The passengers from those flights were most likely in customs or had just passed through when the bomber struck, at 4:37 p.m.

'There is an explosion!'

Nikolai Khramov of Welcome Taxi in Moscow had dispatched Andrei Abrosimov, a relatively new driver, to Domodedovo to pick up a passenger arriving from Germany on a Lufthansa flight.

At 4:43 p.m., Khramov heard Abrosimov's voice, shouting on the radio: "There is an explosion! I'm covered in blood!"

It was six minutes after the blast. The first news report would not come until 5 p.m., with alerts that several people had been injured in an explosion at the airport.

"He was crying on the radio. He said he was hurt and could not pick up the passenger," Khramov said.

Khramov kept trying to call Abrosimov, reaching him at 5:34 p.m. "He said he was lying on the floor in the medical center at the airport. 'All the people are running and crying. No one has gotten to me.' "

Later, Khramov found out that Abrosimov had been taken to a hospital in Moscow with a broken arm and other injuries. He was in critical condition.

Others waiting at the airport described heavy smoke, bodies arrayed throughout the hall and blood everywhere.

"I saw a lot of smoke, a lot of police and a lot of firemen," Alexei Nefedov told Russian television. He said he was also struck by the sight of passengers from later flights continuing to exit the customs hall with their luggage, only to stumble onto a scene of devastation.

Domodedovo continued to operate, although most flights were diverted to one of Moscow's other airports or returned to their starting point.

The explosion brought expressions of solidarity from around the world.

"We stand with the victims of these crimes, and we will continue to work with the international community to combat violent extremism that threatens peace-loving people everywhere," U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton said in a statement. "The United States remains ready to support the Russian government as it seeks to bring these perpetrators to justice."

<       2

© 2011 The Washington Post Company