MOSCOW, August 17 (RIA Novosti) – A passenger ship with at least 56 people on board has collided with a barge in Siberia on Saturday, killing four people and injuring 49, including eight children, Russian emergency services said.
The accident occurred on the River Irtysh in the Omsk Region in southwestern Siberia just before 11 a.m. Moscow time on Saturday. Russian news agencies cited the regional police as saying that the captain of the passenger ship, the Polesye-8, was drunk.
“According to the information we have, four people died as a result of the collision, and 46 were injured, of whom 14, including two children, are in a serious condition. The remaining passengers were allowed to go home after being examined by medical personnel,” the regional police said in a statement.
The ship, which had 52 passengers and four crew members on board, was evacuated after it was holed by the collision, the Emergencies Ministry said. The police statement said there were 56 passengers on board and four crew members.
An Emergencies Ministry spokeswoman said that two of the ministry’s planes would fly some of those injured in the accident to Moscow from Omsk on Sunday.
Russia’s Investigative Committee said a team of investigators from its West Siberian transport branch were at the scene of the disaster trying to ascertain the circumstances.
“A criminal investigation has been opened into the violation of safety rules when operating a means of internal water transport leading to the death through carelessness of two or more people,” the committee’s media spokesperson told RIA Novosti.
Updated throughout the day.