INTERNATIONAL

Death toll in Russian ship sinking over 100

More than 100 people are feared drowned in Sunday's sinking of an overloaded river cruise ship on the Volga River in central Russia.

Seventy-nine people were rescued from inflatable rafts by another passenger boat but a majority of the 208 passengers and crew were trapped inside the stricken boat as it went down in stormy weather. Rescue teams were searching nearby islets hoping to find some survivors.

Divers on Monday started recovering bodies from inside the ship lying at a depth of 21 metres. They spotted at least 30 bodies of children in the ship's entertainment hall where they had gathered for a programme just before the ship sank.

Survivors reported that the ship, leaning to starboard, was struck by a high wave as it was making a sharp turn.

Investigators and survivors noted an incredible number of breaches of law and safety regulations that led to the tragedy.

Even before the ship left its home port Kazan on Saturday on a two-day pleasure voyage it had a problem with the main left engine and it stalled altogether on the way back. Allowed to take a maximum of 120 passengers, the boat carried 50 per cent more.

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