Volga Tragedy: Over 100 people missing as pleasure cruiser sinks in Russia (Video)
2011 07 11

By Andrew E. Kramer | NYTimes.com



A riverboat filled with families cruising on the Volga River sank on Sunday, and about 100 people were missing hours later, feeding fears that the episode could be the country’s worst such accident in recent history.

The riverboat, called the Bulgaria, had set out with 188 people on board for a cruise in the Kuybyshev Reservoir, a reach of the upper Volga that is dammed and forms a broad lake, according to state television.

Another Volga River tour boat, the Arabella, which was the first to arrive at the scene, found people clinging to debris and life vests, and pulled 82 survivors from the water and one woman who had drowned, Russian television reported.


Video from: YouTube.com

Initially, a local official in the Ministry of Emergency Situations said that aside from one woman who drowned, other vessels had picked up the remainder of the passengers and crew. But later Sunday, officials at the ministry’s headquarters in Moscow said 97 people were still missing after helicopters and motorboats had searched the river for hours. A plane with divers later took off from Moscow, suggesting a search for bodies rather than survivors.

In the confusion that followed the episode, the numbers on board and missing varied throughout the day.

The cause of the sinking was not yet clear. Large-scale accidents have sometimes led to anger at the government, especially when the country’s somewhat cavalier approach to safety has played a role. President Dmitri A. Medvedev spoke with rescue officials on Sunday afternoon, state television reported.

The tour company operating the Bulgaria had recently canceled trips because of mechanical troubles on the boat, and passengers from a previous outing had complained on a local Web site that the engines had broken down during their cruise.

The Bulgaria is a vintage 1955 riverboat with two decks, elegant brass fixtures and a ballroom, according to archival pictures shown on NTV television news.

River cruises are a beloved summer pastime for Russians, who sometimes book rides through the country’s vast inland waterways that last for weeks. Sleeping cabins are common, as are restaurants and onboard discos.

The boats often stop at uninhabited islands in the river so passengers can disembark and swim.

The Bulgaria sank about two miles from shore. Crews were searching nearby islands and the bank. Witnesses told Russian television that it was raining at the time of the sinking, but not particularly stormy. Television images showed choppy water and an overcast sky.

Interfax cited an unidentified survivor who went ashore when the Arabella docked in Kazan as saying that the boat was carrying many children, and that about 30 of them were gathered in an inside play room when the boat sank. “I’m afraid many of them died,” the survivor was quoted as saying.

The Volga River is crowded with boats in the summertime, including oil tankers and barges. Last year, a riverboat collided with a barge laden with sand north of Moscow. Then, all the passengers were rescued.

Article from: nytimes.com
Top Image: Roman Kruchinin/Reuters




Related Articles
Russia plane crash kills at least 44
Russia blames Polish crew in Kaczynski air crash
Tsunami Climbing: Incredible video of ship heading into wave in Japan
Congo boat catches fire, capsizes; 200 feared dead


Latest News from our Front Page

Google’s New Computer With Human-Like Learning Abilities Will Program Itself
2014 10 30
In college, it wasn’t rare to hear a verbal battle regarding artificial intelligence erupt between my friends studying neuroscience and my friends studying computer science. One rather outrageous fellow would mention the possibility of a computer takeover, and off they went. The neuroscience-savvy would awe at the potential of such hybrid technology as the CS majors argued we have nothing to ...
Former Cop Headed to Trial for Raping a Child While Other Officers Watched
2014 10 30
Pharr, TX — Trial is set to begin December 1, in the case of former Pharr police officer Erasmo Mata, Jr., accused of repeated first-degree felony sexual assaults of a child. A federal civil lawsuit filed with Texas Southern District Court back in May accused Mata of assaulting the minor five times, on five separate occasions, all while on duty. ...
It Has Been Decided; Jeb Bush vs Hillary Clinton in ’16
2014 10 28
NY Times: The Bushes, Led by W., Rally to Make Jeb ‘45 ’ As Jeb Bush nears a decision to become the third member of his storied family to seek the presidency, the extended Bush clan and its attendant network are largely rallying behind the prospect and pulling the old machine out of the closet. Rebuttal by The Anti-New York ...
Putin at Valdai - World Order: New Rules or a Game without Rules
2014 10 28
From Youtube: Russian President Vladimir Putin is delivering a speech at the plenary session of Valdai International Discussion Club, a forum involving the world leading experts at foreign and domestic policy.
Hillary – Says Business does NOT Create Jobs – Washington Does?
2014 10 28
We have a very serious problem with Hillary. I was asked years ago to review Hillary’s Commodity Trading to explain what went on. Effectively, they did trades and simply put winners in her account and the losers in her lawyer’s. This way she gets money that is laundered through the markets – something that would get her 25 years today. People ...
More News »