No children found in music room of sunken “Bulgaria”

Divers have not found any children’s bodies in the music room of the sunken “Bulgaria”, where dozens of children were believed to have gathered for a party at the time the vessel sank on Sunday.

The news was announced on Tuesday by Lilia Khazieva, a spokesperson for rescue services, Interfax news agency reports.

“No one has been found there,” she said.

According to Khazieva, most children were found in corridors and rooms of the sunken vessel, and most of them were found alongside their parents.

The development came as a group of military divers, some of whom took part in raising the “Kursk” atomic submarine, arrived at the scene of the tragedy to prepare for the raising of the “Bulgaria”.

The operation to raise the vessel from the riverbed of the Volga will take place on July 16, the emergency minister, Sergey Shoigu, announced earlier. 

The “Bulgaria” sank on Sunday, just three kilometers from the shore.

Rescue services have now recovered 98 bodies from the water, RIA Novosti news agency reported early on Wednesday.

Relatives have already identified 85 bodies, including those of 12 children, while 79 people have been rescued.

At the time of the tragedy from 192 to 209 people were onboard the “Bulgaria”, the agency reports.

Families of the victims and passengers who received injuries when the sinking occurred will receive compensation from the Russian authorities, the Russian prime minister, Vladimir Putin, announced on Tuesday.

Families of those who died in the tragedy will receive one million rubles each (the equivalent of about US $35,000), those injured will receive from US$7,000 to US$14,000, depending on the severity of their injuries.

The authorities of the Russian republic of Tatarstan where the tragedy occurred also announced their compensation payments, which are due to start on Wednesday.

Criminal cases have been opened into why two ships which passed the sinking vessel did not stop to pick up a single person, and into why the ageing Bulgaria was allowed to sail in the first place.

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