Russian experts now fear a horrific bus explosion that killed two women on Thursday was a terrorist blast.
CCTV footage shows the moment the explosion took place in the city of Voronezh, roughly 280 miles south of Moscow, injuring 26 passengers.
Russian authorities initially played down the possibility of a terrorist strike in an announcement made on Friday, instead blaming the explosion on leaky gas equipment.
But experts now believe a concealed explosive device was responsible for the blast.
One of the victims, Olga Chernokova, a 22-year-old bride-to-be, was buried in her wedding dress.
She sustained severe injuries in the explosion, losing both of her feet from the blast, and doctors were unable to save her.
A dashcam video from a nearby car captured the moment of the explosion on Thursday evening
Passers-by rushed to help the injured passengers, many of whom sustained significant injuries
Pastry chef Tatyana Ivanova, 55, was also killed in the blast which Russian officials had put down to a technical problem with the bus, but the company that operated the vehicle carried no gas equipment and was in good condition.
A law enforcement source cited by Vesti Voronezh later said an explosive device may have been concealed behind an under seat heater on the bus, while explosive expert Dmitry Simkin told Moskovsky Komsomolets he feared a bomb was placed on the floor of the bus and activated remotely.
‘The rupture zone is very clearly visible – the bottom of the bus has ‘gone up’,’ he said.
The Russian Anti-Terror Committee is coordinating the investigation into the explosion and reported that ‘all options are being considered’ as their team continue to analyse shrapnel and fragments from the scene.
The explosion which killed two and injured 26 ripped through the bus, blowing out the windows and several body panels
The Russian Anti-Terror Committee is coordinating the investigation into the explosion as their team continue to analyse shrapnel and fragments from the scene
Russia’s most senior criminal investigator Alexander Bastrykin, head of the Investigative Committee and a former university classmate of Vladimir Putin, has taken personal control of the case.
CCTV footage shows passengers rushing out of the mangled vehicle which was at a bus stop in the city centre in the aftermath of the explosion.
A dashcam in a passing vehicle separately caught the moment the large blast ripped through the side of the bus.
‘The explosion was very loud, then everyone started running to escape,’ one witness, Larissa, told the state news agency RIA Novosti, adding that ‘the whole road was strewn with broken glass’.
A passer-by who saw Olga – a student and part-time estate agent – after rushing onto the blitzed bus, said he had tried to comfort her despite her horrific injuries.
‘I saw her feet next to me,’ said Igor Pakhachev.
‘One was still in a boot, and the other was naked.
‘I took them and said: ‘Don’t be afraid, they will sew them on again’.
‘She was bleeding.’
Friends and family members of the injured passengers came to pay their respects at the site of the explosion, leaving flowers by a nearby bus stop
The bus was passing by the Galereya Chizhova shopping centre in the centre of Voronezh when experts suspect the hidden device was detonated remotely
He said: ‘I wanted to take the girl in my arms, but I felt her bones.
‘Then I decided to leave her there.
‘With others, we tightened the injured leg with belts so that she would not lose [more] blood.
‘We supported her in every possible way, and talked to her.
‘Then a rescuer literally flew into the bus through the broken window, I gave him her severed legs.
‘He put them aside on the seat, and wanted to carry the girl on a stretcher, but he was also afraid that her spine could be injured.
‘So we had to wait for an ambulance, which eventually took her away.’
The victim’s father Gennady Chernikov, 53, said his daughter – who was planning her marriage – had been buried in the dress she would have worn on her wedding day.
She was killed on Thursday evening when she was out shopping for a dress to wear for a friend’s wedding, he said.
A friend of Tatyana Ivanova said: ‘She never did anything bad to anyone in her life.
‘We cannot just believe it. It’s scary.’
The explosion happened in the centre of the city in south-western Russia, around 280 miles from the capital
Members of Russia’s anti-terror committee are now analysing fragments and shrapnel from the blast to determine the root cause