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GORNO-ALTAISK, December 12 (Itar-Tass) — The Turochak District Court of the Republic of Altai on Monday is beginning is beginning preliminary hearings in a criminal case against the district resident ··Yuri Kazantsev who is accused of causing the death of four people on Lake Teletskoye this summer, the district court’s secretariat told Itar-Tass.
The defendant was steering the Volga hydrofoil on which he carried tourists on excursions in Teletskoye Lake. It was established that on July 11 this year, Kazantsev, driving the motorboat, ignored the requirements for operation of small boats on bodies of water. Being intoxicated and using dangerous methods of steering the vessel the captain caused capsizing of the boat with 12 passengers on board.
As a result of the accident, four passengers, including a 12-year-old girl, drowned.
The investigation found out that the ship’s quick sinking was caused by its design change. Thus, the owner of the boat, in order to derive more profit increased the number of seats on the boat by removing sealed compartments, which significantly reduced buoyancy of the motorboat. However, state inspector of the patrol service of the Russian State Inspection on Small Vessels’ centre for the Altai Republic Roman Abraimov, who conducted the vessel’s technical examination, did not pay attention to changes in its design. Despite the obvious violation of the safety requirements, he issued a permit for the boat’s exploitation.
At the present time a criminal case has been opened against Abraimov under Article 263, Part 3 of the RF Criminal Code (negligence, that is, improper performance by an official of his duties due to unconscientious or careless attitude to service, resulting in the death of 4 persons through negligence).
In terms of depth, Teletskoye Lake is second after Lake Baikal in Russia.
The accident took place at 20:30 local time (17:30 Moscow time) on July 11 when the Volga-type hydrofoil, which was making a pleasure voyage, overturned and sank some 30 kilometres off the settlement of Artybash of the Turochak district of the republic. Nine passengers were rescued from the water by passing motorboats. These nine people were taken to hospital. Four persons, including a teenager, were reported missing.
Head of the Altai Republic Alexander Berdnikov signed a resolution to provide material aid to the families of the missing passengers of the capsized hydrofoil – 100,000 roubles to each. A criminal case was opened for violation of safety rules.
Lake Teletskoye is the largest lake in the Altai Mountains and the Altai Republic, Russia. It is one of 25 deepest lakes in the world, having a depth of up to 325 metres. Situated at a height of 434 m (1,424 ft) above sea level, the lake is 78 km (48 miles) long and 5 km (3 mi) wide and lies between the mountain ridges Korbu and Al-tyntu, on the junction of Sailughem Mountains and Western Sayans. Its surface area is 233 square kilometres (90 sq mi); however, due to its considerable depth (325 m, 1,066 ft), the lake contains no less than 40 square km (9.6 cubic miles) of fresh water. Annual water level fluctuations are estimated at some 348 cm. The lake transparency is high, with the visibility of the lake water ranging from six to fourteen metres. About 70 rivers and 150 temporary streams flow into the lake, the largest of them, Chulyshman River, supplying more than half of the lake's water. The lake is drained through a single outlet, the Biya River, which, after its confluence with the Katun River, forms one of Siberia's largest rivers, the Ob River.