RUSSIA OBSERVED A day of mourning today to pay respects to those who died after an overloaded cruise ship sank in the River Volga earlier this week.
As many as 110 people are thought to be dead following the tragedy, more than 40 bodies so far being pulled from the water – most of them children, reports the BBC. The ship, the Bulgaria, sank in just eight minutes.
Speaking at a memorial service in Kazan, Transport Minister Igor Levitin said: “It is especially bitter and hard because there were so many children. It is our future and the memory of them should be kept with every one of us”, reports the Washington Post.
Eighty people were rescued by a passing boat after the ship sank on Sunday, however the cause of the incident has not yet been confirmed. While the vessel was over capacity – carrying 208 people despite 120 being the maximum – it is also thought to have been in poor condition and may have been experiencing technical problems.
The vessel was old, having been constructed in 1956 in the former Czechoslovakia.
All possible causes for the tragedy are now being investigated by a state commission ordered by Russian President Dmitry Medvedev, reports Al Jazeera.