Moscow: Russian Prime Minister
Vladimir Putin on Thursday blamed "greed" and gross safety
violations for a Volga River boat accident that killed up to
129 people in a heavy storm.
"So many deaths. So many children died," Putin said
during an unannounced visit to the central Russian city of
Kazan to which the boat Bulgaria was sailing when it sank on
"It is horrible that we have to pay such a toll for
this irresponsibility, such complacency, such greed," Russia`s
former president said in televised remarks.
Officials said they had pulled the bodies of 113
people -- including 27 children -- from the river by today
Russia`s worst shipping accident in its post-Soviet
history came on a top of a series of other disasters involving
outdated equipment whose lifespans had long since expired.
The Bulgaria was built in then Czechoslovakia in
1955 and its sinking prompted Russian President Dmitry
Medvedev to call for a river transport safety review -- the
same instruction he had issued for planes after previous jet
But the latest accident was also accompanied by
allegations of massive negligence on the part of both the tour
operators and officials in charge of overseeing safety
The boat sailed with a faulty left engine and
lacking a license to carry tourists. It was also heavily
overcrowded and included at least 25 people who never bought
tickets or appeared on any registration lists.
Authorities have already arrested two officials and
the captains of two vessels that allegedly passed the river
wreck on Sunday without stopping to help.
"How could this have happened," Putin lamented.
"How could a company without a license for tourist
operations, without a license to use ships -- how did it
manage to exist at all? Who sold these tickets? Who allowed
them to be sold?”, he asked.