KAMSKOYE USTYE, Russia — The trial of the captain of a cargo boat charged with failing to rescue passengers from a sinking boat has bugun in the Russian republic of Tatarstan, RFE/RL’s Russian Service reports.
In July, the tourist boat “Bulgaria” sank in the Volga River, killing 122 people. The accident was Russia’s worst river-boat disaster in decades.
Investigators say Aleksandr Yegorov’s cargo vessel, “Dunaysky-66,” passed the sinking “Bulgaria” without helping the passengers, most of whom drowned.
The initial hearing on December 6 was mainly about moving the trial from Kamskoye Ustye, near where the “Bulgaria” sank, to the Tatar capital of Kazan.
Passengers who survived the tragedy and witnesses of the sinking asked the judge to move the trial to Kazan because that is where most of them and the defendant, Yegorov, currently live.
The Kamskoye Ustye court accepted the request and sent it to the chairman of Russia’s Supreme Court, which will decide if the hearings can be moved to Kazan.
Yegorov said he is innocent of the charge and does not object to the trial being moved to Kazan.
The “Bulgaria” had nearly twice as many passengers on board as it was allowed to carry when it sank in stormy weather on July 10.
Investigators say the overloaded boat was built to accommodate no more than 120 people and had not been regularly maintained though the ship was more than 50 years old.
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