Sunken riverboat had 201 people on board

The Russian Investigation Committee on Friday fixed the official number of passengers at 201 on board the ill-fated cruise ship, the Bulgaria, that sunk in the Volga River earlier in July.

The cruise ship was lifted from the thick silt of the river bottom earlier on Friday and should be raised to the surface later in the day.

Earlier reports said the number on board the vessel was 208.

“Investigations have established that there were 201 people on board during the river tragedy: 79 of them were rescued, 114 perished,” the committee’s official spokesman, Vladimir Markin, said, adding that eight people remain missing.

The Emergencies Ministry is continuing the search for the missing. More than 200 people and 26 vessels are engaged in the search.

The operation to lift the ship had been postponed several times in the past few days due to difficulties in attaching lifting gear to the vessel’s hull and keeping it upright.

The operation has taken much longer than expected as crews have been hit by a number of setbacks, including low-visibility and a snapped steel cord.

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