ST.PETERSBURG, August 1 (Itar-Tass) — A pleasure boat sank in the Neva river at 1.50 am Moscow time last night; ten people who were on board were hurt in the accident.
A criminal case has been opened into the fact of collision of the pleasure boat with a freight ship, the Northwestern department for transport of the Russian Investigative Committee told Itar-Tass on Wednesday. Preliminary reports said the crew of the pleasure boat violated the rules of navigation safety and use of river transport, a representative of the investigation said.
SK has not ruled out professional errors in handling the freight ship.
Last night experts examined the hull of the freight ship. On Wednesday morning an operation was launched to lift the sunken ship from the river. A floating crane arrived at the place of the accident at 8.30 am Wednesday, a source from the St.Petersburg department for emergency situations (EMERCOM) told Itar-Tass. The boat had been snubbed up by 10. 20 a.m. when the operation began, it said.
The accident occurred under a St. Petersburg bridge near Letny Sad (summer garden); the bridge had already been drawn apart when the two ships collided. The pleasure boat, which carried 13 passengers and two crewmen, capsized and was submerging. A few people managed to swim ashore from the sinking boat: the rest were picked up by other pleasure boats which were nearby. Ambulances rushed the survivors to hospitals for urgent medical examination. Luckily, none of them needed hospital treatment.
At dawn after large ships passed through the river EMERCOM divers went down into the river to examine the sunken boat and make sure there were no people trapped inside. No bodies were found.
The criminal case opened into the incident entails punishment "for improper work and services which do not conform to the required standards of safety of consumers' life and health."