Monday, July 11, 2011

Volga Disaster: 8 Dead, 100 Missing in Russia Volga Boat Disaster

Moscow, Russia - An overcrowded cruise ship sank in a storm on Russia's Volga river killing eight people and leaving 100 others missing, official said on Monday.

Russia's emergency ministry confirmed the death toll on Monday but offered no official explanation for what could become one of Russia biggest ever boat disasters.

Sunday's accident happened three kilometres from the shore near Syukeyevo village in Tatarstan, some 800km east of Moscow. The boat sank at one of the widest points of the river - just downstream from a reservoir that stretches more than 20km from shore to shore.

While the boat, Bulgaria, had a maximum passenger capacity of 120, up to 199 people were on board, emergency ministry officials estimated. Rescuers picked up some 80 people from the river leaving more than 100 unaccounted for.

Survivors and other witnesses described a Sunday afternoon storm that suddenly made the two-deck boat tilt right in a wide bend of the river before it capsized and sank in a matter of minutes to a depth of 20m.

About 15 relatives hoping for news of their loved-ones stood huddled together on Monday morning at the camp set up by the emergency situations ministry as a base for rescue efforts on the shore of the Volga river, about 130km from regional capital Kazan. - AFP

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