MOSCOW — An apparent terrorist bombing Monday at a crowded arrivals terminal at an airport near Moscow left at least 31 people dead and more than 130 injured, Russian officials said.
The bomb at Domodedovo International Airport was packed "full of metal pieces" and was the equivalent of between 15 and 22 pounds of TNT, a source in the Russian Investigation Committee told the state RIA Novosti news agency.
Investigation Committee spokesman Vladimir Markin told Russia 24 television that the blast was a terrorist act and that an investigation had been launched. Interfax news agency reported that law enforcement agencies were looking for three suspects.
President Dmitry Medvedev expressed condolences to the families of the dead and injured, ordered special security measures at Russian airports and other transportation centers, and sent Moscow's mayor and regional governor to the site. He canceled his own planned trip to the World Economic Forum at Davos, Switzerland.
"From preliminary information we have, it was a terror attack," Medvedev said in televised remarks. "We need to get to the bottom of it. The main thing is to render assistance and support to the victims."
One witness described the sound of fireworks followed by chaos.
"I was sitting near a cafe reading a newspaper when I heard a sound of an explosion as if a fireworks was going off, which seemed very strange to me given that it is an airport," Sergei Glokhov said in a telephone interview.
"Then people began screaming and running and I saw a man who was wiping blood pouring from his head over his eyes with one hand and trying to make a telephone call with the other," said Glokhov, who was waiting for his brother to arrive from Munich. "A lot of smoke was coming from the arrival section and I saw somebody moving a luggage cart with a body of a man on it as everybody was running for an exit," he added.
Television network Russia 24 showed footage from the arrivals terminal of several bodies lying unattended on the floor in an area covered with gray smoke.
Domodedovo is located about 25 miles southeast of the heart of Moscow and is the largest of three airports that serve the Russian capital.
Yelena Galanova, spokesperson for the airport, said in televised remarks that flights were arriving and departing as usual.
But there was nothing usual about the fares taxi drivers at Domodedovo reportedly were charging immediately after the blast: The usual cost of a ride between the city and airport climbed from the usual $150 or less to as high as $800.