At least 11 children and one adult have drowned after three tourist vessels from a summer camp were caught in a lake storm in Karelia, northwest Russia. All the children appear to be from Moscow.
The casualty figures were reported by the Investigative Committee probing the incident. Investigators say there were 47 children and four adults on board the vessels: two boats and one raft.
The tourist group that got caught in the storm consisted of two boats and one raft, according to information from the Emergencies Ministry. Rescuers have managed to save 11 people so far, the ministry said in a statement.
There were 47 children and 4 adults on board the three tourist vessels, Investigative Committee spokesman Vladimir Markin said in a statement.
A total of 36 people (from three boats) survived the incident, Emergencies Ministry said, adding that four people remain unaccounted for.
Those children who died in the incident “apparently had no life vests” and those who “were with life 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 the life vests,” Astakhov added.
The children were from a summer camp “Park-Hotel Syamozero” located near the lake.
Astakhov added that Russia hadn’t seen in years such a mass casualty incident in a summer children’s camp. “It is necessary to declare mourning in Karelia and Moscow,” he said.
“There has been a great tragedy in Karelia,” Moscow Mayor Sergey Sobyanin said. “According to the preliminary data, 10 children from Moscow have died on Lake Syamozero. Condolences to the families and friends [of the victims],” the mayor wrote on Twitter.
One girl reportedly managed to reach the shore of the local resort by herself.
Life.ru news portal cited a police source who talked to a 12-year-old survivor.
The girl told the source that the storm caught them on Saturday, she was washed up on the shore on Sunday unconscious. When she regained consciousness, she decided to walk to a nearby village.
On her way she found a boy who was in blood and was unable to move, Life.ru cited the source. The girl told the villagers what happened and they called emergency services.
Moscow authorities are sending rescuers, doctors, psychologists and social workers to the scene.
The head of the Republic of Karelia, Alexander Khudilaynen, is also heading there.
Tatiana, a local resident, told RT the boat trip was a bad idea because of the weather conditions.
“The wind was mad yesterday. It’s a crime to let children for a voyage on the lake,” she said, adding that the camp was not a place she would recommend people to send their children to. According to her, instructors at the camp were regularly drunk. She also mentioned that not long ago a security officer was killed of the camp’s premises.
A mother who once sent her son to the same camp told RT that her child got gangrene during his stay in the camp. The boy had a splinter and doctors at the camp weren’t able to remove it, she said.
She said there were other incidents of negligence, like when the camp instructors left a child at a nearby station and his parent had to take him back home from there, not from the camp.
“There was no control in the camp. Drunk camp workers once broke a boy’s leg,” she said.
The incident was a “shock” for locals, Vita from the tourist complex Qudaamah where the rescued children were brought, told RT, adding that the surviving children are at the nearby base.
Source: Daily News