An older overcrowded Bulgarian cruise ship sank during a rainstorm over the weekend. Fifty people have been confirmed dead, yet more than 90 people remain missing. Rescuers continue to search the vast waters of the Volga reservoir today for survivors of this horrible tragedy aboard the Bulgaria.
According to the Associated Press, although it has not been disclosed as to the exact amount of passengers aboard the cruise ship, it has been said that the boat was carrying more than its allotted capacity. The ship was equipped to carry 120 passengers, however officials say they believe there was anywhere from 185 to 196 aboard the ship when it sank.
One survivor of the sinking Bulgaria told national news channel Vesti 24 that other ships refused to come aid the sinking vessel.
The exact reason for the sinking of the cruise liner is not yet known. However, Igor Panishin of the regional Emergencies Ministry was quoted by the state news agency RIA Novosti as saying survivors of the tragedy noticed that the ship was leaning starboard as it made a turn. Shortly thereafter a large wave crashed atop the ship. Survivors reported it took about eight minutes for the ship to sink.
The Bulgaria was an older ship and desperately in need of some repairs. It was constructed in 1955 in Czechoslovakia and according to the Associated Press, a tourism expert said that the lack of partitions inside the ship made it vulnerable to breaches. Russia’s Union of Tourism Industry said the ship had not been inspected or retrofitted in years, according to the Interfax news agency.
Officials said the cruise liner sank about two miles from shore in waters approximately 65 feet deep. According to the Associated Press, Yelena Smirnikh, spokeswoman of the National Emergencies Ministry, said although nine people have been confirmed dead, and more than 90 missing, 80 people were rescued. Among the 80 people rescued, all were Russians. However, it is unclear whether or not there were any foreigners aboard the ship.
According to the Wall Street Journal, the death toll has risen to 50 according to officials. However the death toll is likely to continue to climb as divers search sunken ship and the area. Tuesday has been declared a national day or morning by President Dmitry Medvedev.