Witnesses of the cruise ship that sank on Sunday on Russia’s Volga River unveiled some details of the tragedy of the Bulgaria.
Over 70 people from the sinking Bulgaria cruise ship were saved by another passenger cruise ship, the Arabella, which was passing by the area.
“They [Arabella’s passengers] were literary taking off their clothes and bringing medicine from their cabins. None of the tourists were indifferent,” the Arabella’s captain, Roman Lizalin, said in an interview with Russia’s First TV channel.
The ship was believed to have sunk in several minutes, so very few of the passengers had time to put on a life vest, Lizalin said. “I didn’t see life vests on people…When I asked them why they didn’t have one on, they said everything happened very quickly.”
The Bulgaria’s radioman, Rinat Gabitdinov, said he was unable to send an S.O.S. message because the vessel had lost all power, including a generator that had shut down before water flooded the engine room.
Natalia Sidorova, a nurse on board the Arabella, said there was a group of medics traveling on their ship who helped the passengers from the Bulgaria. “They [the medics] helped greatly, it was like an assembly line,” adding that she would not have been able to tend to the survivors alone.
Sidorova said the first five hours after the tragedy were the most difficult since “the people burst out in hysterics, shock and psychoses.”
The latest death toll in the twin-deck Bulgaria wreckage reached 58 with a total of 79 people rescued and over 50 still missing.