Russian Captain Held for 2 Months Over Fatal Boat Crash

OMSK, August 19 (RIA Novosti) – The captain of a river cruise boat that collided with a barge and sank in Russia on Saturday, killing at least six and injuring 47, will be held in a detention facility for two months over the tragedy, his lawyer said Monday.

The accident took place on the River Irtysh in the Omsk Region in southwestern Siberia shortly before 11 a.m. Moscow time Saturday. Between 53 and 62 passengers and crew were reportedly aboard the 1989-built Polesye-8 vessel when the collision happened.

Earlier reports citing local officials had suggested eight people died in the incident, but the Russian Investigative Committee confirmed Saturday evening that the death toll stood at six. Two people are still in intensive care, and about 30 of the 50 initially admitted are still in the hospital, local officials confirmed Sunday.

Russia’s federal Investigative Committee has sent experts to help with the investigation into the cause of the crash. Both vessels’ captain and crew have been questioned.

The passenger ship’s captain was found to have 0.1 percent alcohol in his system at the time of the crash the Omsk Region’s governor Viktor Nazarov said Saturday, and was detained pending charges soon after the incident.

At a news conference on Monday, Nazarov said that the captain had admitted his guilt and also that he had been drinking the day before.

A lawyer acting for the passenger ship’s captain confirmed Monday his client had been arrested and will be held in a detention facility for two months, Rossiiskaya Gazeta reported.

Nazarov broke off his vacation and called an emergency meeting of local officials in response to the crash.


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