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Head of Russia's Karelia confirms death of 13 in lake tragedy

June 20, 4:27 UTC+3 PETROZAVODSK
Twelve children injured in the lake accident are now in hospital
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© Igor Podgorniy/TASS

PETROZAVODSK, June 20. /TASS/. Head of Karelia Alexander Khudilainen has not confirmed the reports that 15 children have drowned in the Lake Syamozero accident that took place in Karelia on Saturday. "Thirteen children have died, and the fourteenth has not been found", he said on Monday at a meeting in Petrozavodsk, adding that the search efforts continued.

According to preliminary investigation data, on June 18, forty-seven children vacationing at the Park Hotel Syamozero children’s recreation camp accompanied by four adult instructors ran into a gale while rafting on three boats in Lake Syamozero in Karelia, northwestern Russia. The boats overturned and sank. Thirteen children drowned. The search for the 14th continues. Earlier reports reported 15 fatalities. All the adults survived.

Twelve children injured in the lake accident are now in hospital, said head of the Russian Emergencies Ministry’s north-western regional center Igor Panin at a meeting held by Emergencies Ministry Vladimir Puchkov on arrival in Petrozavodsk. A total of 37 people were rescued, 33 of them children. They have all been transported to Petrozavodsk.

"Twelve of the 33 children have been taken to hospitals. Their lives are not in danger," Panin said. The remaining 21 children have been accommodated at the local military school and they are provided with meals and medical care.

The emergencies minister told TASS that telemedicine monitoring has been organized over the children injured in the Karelia lake incident and who are undergoing treatment at hospitals. "Telemedicine monitoring from the country’s leading medical institutions, including the All-Russian Center of Emergency and Radiological Medicine (of the Emergencies Ministry) has been organized over all the children currently at hospital, he said. The children’s condition is monitored every half hour. The further treatment decisions are taken on its results. The patients have suffered varied damage: from hypothermia to spinal injuries.

Puchkov has demanded to close the camp responsible for the children’s death in the lake accident. "Close it and send the children to their fathers and mothers", the minister said at the meeting. According to him, the National Crisis Management Center would provide assistance and support in the children’s transportation.

Puchkov requested the Karelian government officials to provide all the necessary assistance to the relatives of the injured children in Karelia. "I will ask to provide all possible assistance and support to plan and all the activities in support of the families of the affected children. Targeted assistance should be provided to everyone," he said.

Puchkov also said that the work in the accident is carried out around the clock. "The Russian Emergencies Ministry aviation, drones, the whole group of rescuers are engaged in the operation round the clock, thanks to the ‘white nights’ in Karelia", he said. Puchkov added that rescuers from many regions of the Northwestern Federal District of Russia have arrived in Karelia.

The Russian Investigative Committee has opened a criminal case under Article 238, part 3 of the Russian Criminal Code (provision of services that fail to meet safety requirements, resulting in the death of two or more persons). Four suspects have been arrested. The families of the dead children, according to the Karelian authorities, will receive compensation in the amount of 1 million rubles each from the republic’s reserve fund.

A day of mourning has been declared for the dead children on Monday in Karelia and in Moscow.

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