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June 14th, 2011

Several Safety Violations in Deadly Russian Boat Accident

Russian authorities are promising tough action against a riverboat operator after a deadly boat accident in the Volga River that has left more than 100 people dead.

The boat capsized on Sunday.  73 people have been confirmed dead.  Dozens more, including children are still missing.  Hopes for more survivors have been dimming.

The dead possibly include at least 50 children.  They had all gone in to a play room just before the accident, and were locked in at the time the boat capsized.  At least 50 bodies of children have been recovered.  Divers involved in rescue operations have been traumatized by the gruesome scenes in the capsized craft.

The people on the boat were on a two-day pleasure cruise, but the boat quickly ran into strong winds and rain.  Quickly, one of the engines collapsed, and the vessel began listing over heavily.

Already, reports indicate that there were enough warnings about the dangers to the boat, but that these were ignored.  The vessel’s radio operator has told news agencies that the crew members of the boat and the passengers had become anxious about the weather conditions, and had been begging the captain to stop the cruise.  However, their pleas were ignored.

According to Russian authorities, the boat seems to have been filled to past its capacity.  The boat was not even licensed to carry passengers.  It was also loaded to beyond its maximum capacity with at least 280 people on board.  It was only built to carry about 120 passengers.

Maritime lawyers believe that this accident in Russia should be a lesson on obeying boating and maritime safety rules for boat operators in this country too.

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