Officials: Volga boat toll could top 100

July 11, 2011 at 12:18 PM
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SYUKEYEVO, Russia, July 11 (UPI) -- Fifty-three bodies had been recovered from an overloaded boat that sank in the Volga River and the toll could top 100, Russian authorities said Monday.

More than 50 people were still missing from Sunday's sinking of the Bulgaria near the village of Syukeyevo in Tatarstan, RIA Novosti reported. The boat was on a cruise from Bolgar to Kazan.

Seventy-nine people were rescued.

The Emergencies Ministry said the Bulgaria had a legal maximum capacity of 120 but carried 207 people, including 59 children. It also lacked a license for carrying passengers, had a broken engine and was listing to starboard when it set sail.

Yet the Transport Ministry said the boat passed inspection June 15.

Witnesses said the Bulgaria rolled on its right side and sank within 8 minutes. Investigators said it may have flooded so quickly because portholes were open.

A criminal investigation was under way.

President Dmitry Medvedev declared Tuesday a day of mourning.

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