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Moscow Subway Train Derailment Survivors Saved by 'Miracle,' Christians Urge Prayer for Injured (Video)

( [email protected] ) Jul 15, 2014 05:04 PM EDT

Moscow Subway Train Crash
In this frame grab from video provided by the Russian Ministry for Emergency Situations, rescue teams work inside the tunnel in Moscow where a rush-hour subway train derailed Tuesday, July 15, 2014. (AP Photo/Russian Emergency Situation Ministry) 

Churches around Moscow are urging Christians to pray, as twenty-one people are reportedly dead and hundreds more wounded after a horrific accident in the city's metro, where a train derailed during rush hour in one of the world's busiest subways. Currently, over 160 people are hospitalized, including 42 still in intensive care.

The head of the Russian Orthodox Church, Patriarch Kirill, led a prayer to honor the victims, while city hall called for a day of mourning on Wednesday, Yahoo News reports.

Other churches in the area are holding vigils to commemorate the victims and pray for their families.

"This is a horrific tragedy," said Sasha Krowskik, who attended a prayer service.

"We are still reeling from it. Our prayers go up for those affected."

Survivors recall scenes of terror and chaos as the train, which was travelling at 70 kilometers (over 40 miles) an hour, braked abruptly and three carriages derailed and crumpled between Park Pobedy -- the deepest station at 84 meters underground -- and Slavyansky Boulevard.

Moscow deputy mayor Pyotr Biryukov revealed that several people had been trapped in the train, while the authorities said more than 1,000 had been evacuated.

Those rescued call their survival miraculous.

"I thought it was the end," one surviving passenger said as rescue teams continued to work to remove several bodies from the wreckage.

 "We were trapped and only got out through a miracle."

Moscow Subway Train Crash
Paramedics rush an injured woman from a subway station to a hospital helicopter after the accident. (AP)
Moscow Subway Train Crash
(Photo: AFP)

President Vladimir Putin, who is on a trip to Brazil, ordered a criminal probe into the tragedy that put a huge strain on the capital city of some 12 million, CNN reports.

The metro, which first opened in 1935 under Stalin, is notorious for being overcrowded and poorly managed. Investigators are reportedly looking at a number of possible causes for the crash including a mechanical flaw in a carriage and a power failure.

"After the most thorough investigation there will be not only dismissals but also criminal cases against those who are responsible for this tragedy," Moscow mayor Sergei Sobyanin said, noting that the metro, which carries nearly 1 million people daily, is not equipped to handle current passenger traffic.

"What happened is one of the most major accidents of recent times."

Rev. Frederick Owens, who works as a Christian missionary in Moscow, says prayers are crucial at this time.

"Only God can heal the brokenhearted-and right now, there are many broken hearted people in this city. Pray for those who are mourning, those who are injured, and those who are traumatized by this terrible event."