14 children killed after boats overturn during storm in Russia
Published June 19, 2016 FoxNews.com
Russian Ministry for Emergency Situations workers stand at the site of an incident at a lake in the Karelia region.
Russian Ministry for Emergency Situations workers stand at the site of an incident at a lake in the Karelia region. (AP)
At least 14 children died in a storm while boating on a lake in Russia on Saturday, despite repeated warnings advising against going out on the water, officials said.
Three people have been detained on suspicions of violating safety rules: two instructors and a deputy director of a hotel where the group was staying and which reportedly organized the boating trip, said Vladimir Markin, a spokesman for the nation’s main state investigative agency.
“They didn’t have the right to go out boating,” regional Karelia lawmaker Alexei Gavrilov said on Rossiya 24 television.
The boats — carrying 47 children and four adult instructors — overturned in a storm in Syamozero, about 75 miles east of the border with Finland. Local experts said the lake could be extremely dangerous to navigate in strong winds, and even experienced local fishermen stayed away from the lake during the weekend as the Atlantic cyclone approached. Several warnings about the treacherous conditions had been issued in the days before the disaster.
The boating party consisted of two boats and one raft, RT reported. The children who died in the incident “apparently had no life vests” and children with vests “managed to survive,” children’s rights ombudsman Pavel Astakhov told RIA.
“Now we are trying to figure out who gave permission for the journey, if all were provided with life vests,” Astakhov said.
Vladimir Kucherenko, the director of a local tourist company, said that most children had apparently died from long exposure to cold water, as water temperatures in the lake was about 46-50 degrees Fahrenheit. He said strong winds might have driven boats across the lake, making it hard for the children to get to the shore.
“I would like to look the person who allowed them to go boating in the eye,” Kucherenko said in televised remarks. “It was suicidal.”
One 12-year-old girl in the boating party washed ashore unconscious, but eventually came to and was able to walk to a nearby village and seek help, Life.ru reported.
The children on the boats were attending a summer camp near the lake and were all originally from Moscow. The capital’s mayor, Sergei Sobyanin, offered condolences to the victims’ families.
“A great tragedy has occurred in Karelia,” Sobyanin tweeted.
The lake is one of the favorite holiday destinations in the area.