In the lowland, about a kilometer from the railway, a gas pipeline ran. It was damaged and gas was leaking out and accumulating. There was no wind. Two trains – No. 211 “Novosibirsk-Adler” and No. 212 “Adler-Novosibirsk” – were a little behind the schedule and therefore met at this very place. The area was heavily polluted with gas. Actually, the drivers of the trains passing before this informed the dispatcher about the gas, but, apparently, he did not attach any importance to this.
A spark was enough for an explosion. From a discarded cigarette butt, contact network or from under the wheels. The explosion was monstrous – equivalent to 300 tonnes of TNT. The flames were visible in nearby towns – for 100 kilometers. In the city of Asha, located at a distance of 11 kilometers from the place, the glass was knocked out by the shock wave.
37 cars and 2 electric locomotives were damaged. 26 cars burned out from the inside. The death toll differs depending on the source – from 575 to 675 people. There are 675 names on the granite slab of the memorial erected at the crash site by relatives.
Even as a child, I saw at home the pictures that my dad Sergei took while working on the scene. I always thought it was a workforce – for the investigation. But it turns out that the criminologists were shooting, and he took pictures for himself. Here are some footage and his story.