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80 rescued, 100 missing in Russian cruise ship wreck

PanARMENIAN.Net - 80 out of 185 people on board of the Bulgaria cruise ship that sank in Russia’s Volga River on Sunday, July 10 afternoon were rescued, while 100 are still missing and five were found dead, a spokesperson for the Russian Emergencies Ministry said on Monday.

Two-decked Bulgaria, built in 1955, sank on Sunday at 13:58 Moscow time (09:58 GMT) near the village of Syukeyevo in the Kansko-Ustinovsky district of the Republic of Tatarstan.

"Eighty people were rescued with 79 of them taken to Kazan [the capital of Tatarstan]. Two people were taken on a cutter and 77 on the Arabella cruise ship that happened to be near the scene of the incident," the spokesperson said adding that 14 people were hospitalized, including one in grave condition.

Local health officials said that five of 14 hospitalized people were later discharged and allowed to go home.

Rescuers have so far recovered bodies of five people, including a child.

The spokesperson also said that currently 223 people, including 80 divers, are involved in the relief operation. The vessel rests at the depth of 20 meters (65.6 feet) about three kilometers (1.8 miles) from the nearest shore.

The Russian Transportation Ministry said in a statement that the vessel successfully passed a regular technical inspection on June 15 this year and was certified for the further exploitation.

The Bulgaria carried all the necessary life-saving equipment, the ministry said adding that the ship had life-saving rafts for 120 people, two lifeboats for 36 people, as well as 165 life-saving vests for adults and 12 for children.

Igor Panshin, the head of the emergencies ministry department in the Volga Region, said that the vessel carried 185 people instead the amount of maximum 120 obliged by technical regulations for this type of the vessel.

"On top of all, there were six fare dodgers on board the vessel. There is a possibility that the number may be higher," he said.

The Russian Tourism Industry Union said earlier that the 56-year old vessel was not renovated unlike other cruise ships used for voyages down the Volga River, RIA Novosti reported.

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