`Those guilty for boat tragedy must be punished`
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Last Updated: Saturday, July 16, 2011, 18:48
Moscow: Russian President Dmitry Medvedev has sought a thorough probe and strict punishment for those responsible for the Bulgaria boat tragedy that claimed lives of at least 113 passengers in Volga river.

At least 113 passengers, including many children, were killed when the overloaded vintage cruise vessel carrying 208 people sunk in Volga river in a heavy storm in the Russian Republic of Tatarstan.

"Everyone involved in organising this should bear responsibility," Medvedev said in a televised meeting with top investigators at his country retreat Gorki near here yesterday.

He called for a thorough probe and strict punishment for those directly or indirectly responsible for the tragedy last Sunday.

A passing passenger ship had rescued 79 passengers of the ill-fated the Bulgaria built in 1955 in former Czechoslovakia. At least, 16 people are still missing.

During an unscheduled Tatarstan visit, Prime Minister Vladimir Putin on Thursday blamed "irresponsibility, negligence and greed" for the tragedy.

On Wednesday, the police have arrested the CEO of the company operating the Bulgaria and the river transport inspector who declared it seaworthy.

Chief of the Investigative Committee Alexander Bastrykin had ordered the arrest of the captains of two ships that passed by the sinking Bulgaria without trying to help rescue people on board.

According to RIA Novosti, they face up to two years behind bars if found guilty of deliberately ignoring a vessel in distress.

The special salvage team of the Russian Navy is completing the preparations for lifting the Bulgaria on surface over the weekend with the help of powerful floating cranes.


First Published: Saturday, July 16, 2011, 18:48

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