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© RIA Novosti. Ruslan Krivobok

Nine dead in Moscow boat accident

by Moscow News staff at 31/07/2011 11:02

Nine people have been killed after a pleasure boat sank on the Moskva River in the early hours of Sunday morning.

There were 16 people on board the “Lastochka” when it hit a cargo barge, the “Oka-5” in near the Luzhniki stadium. The boat had an operating capacity of 12.

Following the impact, the pleasure boat sank. Six people were rescued, one swam to shore by himself and two more are still unaccounted for, RIA Novosti reported.

The captain and owner of the ship was among those killed in the accident.

Witnesses said that the passengers were celebrating a birthday party when the disaster happened.

Erratic movements

It was reported that before the collision the boat was navigating unpredictably, and circled the barge before the impact.

A floating crane is expected to be sent to help raise the stricken vessel, which is believed to be caught under the hull of the barge, making retrieval difficult.

Once back on the surface, experts hope to understand what caused the collision and will seek to identify any mechanical problem which might have prompted the erratic sailing prior to the crash.

River tragedies

The weekend disaster follows the July 10 sinking of the “Bulgaria”, a large pleasure cruiser working on the Volga near Kazan.

The aging, overloaded vessel went down in a storm on the Kuibyshev reservoir, killing 122 people.

Following that disaster Russian President Dmitry Medvedev ordered an immediate safety check for all boats plying the country’s vast network of inland waterways.


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