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Court sentences motor boat captain in drowning case

March 28, 2012, 12:31 UTC+3

The verdict might be appealed against within the timeframe stipulated by law, the official said

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GORNO-ALTAISK, March 28 (Itar-Tass) — The Turochaksky district court in the Republic of Altai sentenced motor boat captain Yuri Kazantsev to 2.5 years in a penal colony, finding him guilty of the accident in which four people drowned on Teletskoye Lake last summer. The convicted man is banned from driving water transport for two years, a district court official told Itar-Tass.

The verdict might be appealed against within the timeframe stipulated by law, the official said.

Kazantsev will also pay 800,000 to the family of each fatality and compensate their expenses on funeral arrangements.

During the inquest, Yuri Kazantsev fully admitted his guilt and asked for plea bargain, but it was denied to him. During the arguments of the parties, the prosecutor demanded 2.5 years for the defendant, while the defense insisted on suspended sentence.

For their part, the relatives of the diseased petitioned to return the case to the prosecutor's office for reinvestigation, and demanded a tougher sentence for Kazantsev.

Kazantsev, 34, a resident of the Turochaksky district, is accused of causing death by negligence.

The investigators said on July 11, 2011, in a state of alcoholic intoxication, Kazantsev, with no skills to steer a motor boat, put 12 passengers in it and started a ride.

As the boat was moving from the mouth of the river Chulushman towards the village of Artubash, the captain, wishing to make an impression on the passengers, dramatically increased the speed and started making sharp turns. The vessel tilted and capsized.

Four passengers aged from 12 to 44 fell into the water and died. The boat with the bodies of the victims was at a depth of 200 meters and was only hoisted to the surface of the lake two months later.

According to the investigators, the boat owner removed pressurized compartments in order to make more room for passengers, which considerably decreased the vessel's buoyancy.

On April 9, a court will review the case against Emergency Situations Ministry inspector Roman Abraimov who had cleared the vessel for operation.

Abraimov is accused under Criminal Code Article 293, Part 3 /"negligence, i.e. improper performance of duties by official because of unconscientiously or negligent attitude to service, which resulted in the death of two or more persons by negligence"/.

Abraimov did not pay attention to the changes in the boat's design, the investigator said.

If convicted, he might face up to seven years in jail and a three-year ban on certain posts.

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