Moscow, Jul 11: Rescuers today salvaged bodies of 48 people, including five children, from a vintage Russian double-decker passenger ship that capsized on Volga River, while some 80 people remain missing a day after the worst boat accident since 1986.
“We have recovered 48 bodies,” said an official from Russia's east-central republic of Tatarstan, where the boat with 188 tourists on board sank yesterday amid wind and rain. One body was recovered yesterday.
At an emergency meeting with the concerned officials at his countryside retreat near Moscow, President Dmitry Medvedev today declared a state mourning tomorrow in view of heavy human losses.
In his televised remarks, Medvedev ordered thorough checks of all passengers vessels plying in the country as the ‘Bulgaria' diesel-electric ship was built in 1955 in former Czechoslovakia and was said to be in ‘poor technical' shape. Round-the-clock rescue operation involving 307 people, including 49 divers and 73 units of special equipment is underway.
Emergency Situations Minister Sergei Shoigu briefed Medvedev on the plans to lift the sunken ship from under the 23 meter deep water for retracting dead bodies, state-run Rossiya 24 news channel reported.
Quoting Shoigu Interfax reported that yesterday's ship tragedy is the worst since the sinking of Admiral Nakhimov passenger ship in the Black Sea in 1986 that 423 of the 1,234 people on board dead. PTI