COLOMBO, Sri Lanka (CNN) -- Seventeen commuters were injured Wednesday when Tamil Tiger rebels tried to blow up a crowded passenger train bringing workers to the capital of Sri Lanka, police said.
A bomb placed on the rail track in the southern suburb of Dehiwala missed the engine and partially hit the first compartment.
"A delayed explosion would have caused severe damage," a police official said.
The train was headed from the southern town of Panadura, about 17 miles (27 km) away.
Police were looking for a Tamil Tiger rebel who they say left behind a bag with a remote-control device. Eyewitnesses told police he ran from the area when the explosion occurred.
A blast on the same track killed nine commuters on May 26.