Riverboat death toll rises to 129

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With the death toll in the Volga riverboat sinking expected to rise to 129, Russian President Dmitry Medvedev has ordered an inquiry and a complete review of passenger shipping.
An investigation has been opened into the operating company and the local river authority, and criminal proceedings are being taken against the captains of two ships which passed the capsized vessel without stopping to help.
Divers have recovered 71 bodies from the Bulgaria and 58 passengers are still recorded as missing. Many of the victims were children. The Emergency Ministry reports that 79 people were rescued.
The vessel, built in 1955 and licensed to carry 140 passengers and 33 crew, is reported to have been overloaded when it set off for the regional capital of Kazan with a faulty engine, and was listing to starboard. The sinking, in a stretch of the Volga which is several miles wide and as much as 50 feet deep, is Russia’s worst riverboat disaster in 25 years.
There are about 120 tourist vessels in service in European Russia, most of them built in Germany and Czechoslovakia before 1991, according to the Russian Tourism Union. Bulgaria, which had passed an inspection earlier this year, had not been overhauled since 1980. One report says crew were unable to send an SOS message because there was no power.
Bloomberg reports Liliya Khaziyeva, a spokeswoman for the Rescue Service from the neighboring Udmurtia region as saying that the boat sank “in minutes,very fast. We found dead people wearing safety jackets, people who were simply unable to leave the ship.”
President Medvedev said: “The number of old tubs in operation exceeds all limits. The government owns only a small number of these ships, but that doesn’t mean that the government should shirk control.”

By | 2011-07-12T14:53:30+00:00 12 July 2011|Cruise news|1 Comment

About the Author:

John Honeywell is a travel writer specialising in cruise ships and cruise travel. Winner of CLIA UK's Contribution to Cruise award 2017.

One Comment

  1. Alex 12 July 2011 at 11:10 pm - Reply

    Owners of Russian boat: Russian Mykhail Antonov and Russian Federation.
    A boat belons to Russian company “Kamskoe Rechnoe Parokhodstvo” (53% of the company belongs to Mikhail Antonov and 47 % of the company belongs to Russian Federation.

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