At least 13 children and one adult have drowned after three tourist vessels from a summer camp were caught in a storm on a lake 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. All of them were from the Park-Hotel Syamozero summer camp located on Lake Syamozero, not far from the border with Finland.
A total of 37 people from the three boats survived the incident, according to the Emergencies Ministry. Three people remain unaccounted for.
The drowned children are from Moscow, Mayor Sergey Sobyanin confirmed on Twitter, expressing condolences to their families and friends.
Moscow authorities have sent rescuers, doctors, psychologists and social workers to the scene.
One of the instructors who organized the boat trip in Karelia has been detained, Vladimir Markin, Investigative Committee spokesman, said in a statement.
“Within the framework of a criminal investigation, a legal assessment will be given to the actions of the staff of the children’s camp and other responsible parties, which send the children boating in bad weather,” he said.
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.
Russia hadn’t seen such a mass casualty incident in a summer children’s camp for several years, according to the omdudsman. “It is necessary to declare mourning in Karelia and Moscow,” he said. Karelia will hold a day of mourning on June 20, authorities said.
Tatiana, a local resident, told RT that 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 on 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, such as 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