Rescuers could raise the wreckage of Bulgaria cruise ship from the bed of the Volga River already on Sunday, if they manage to place the second lifting cable under the riverboat, Deputy Transport Minister Viktor Olersky said.
The vessel, which sank on the Volga River on July 10, killing at least 114 people, is lying at a depth of about 20 meters, with a list to the right side, some three kilometers from the shore. The operation to raise the ship wreckage could begin at 10:00 a.m. Moscow time (06:00 GMT) on Sunday.
Rescuers will start pumping water out of the ship wreckage as soon as its two upper decks emerge from the water. After the cruise ship is raised, it will be towed to the dock of the Kuibyshev Reservoir, Olersky said.
The 79-meter cruiser, built in 1955 and last renovated 30 years ago, listed onto its right side in a thunderstorm and sank within minutes, trapping many passengers. There were reportedly as many as 208 people on board the twin-deck Bulgaria. As many as 15 people are still missing.
Russian authorities said the boat had no license to carry passengers, its left engine had a problem, and it was heavily overloaded.