Russian Pleasure Boat Hits Barge in Moscow River, 9 Killed

Posted July 31st, 2011 at 5:30 pm (UTC-5)
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A Russian pleasure boat has collided with a barge on the Moscow River, killing nine of the 16 people on the boat.

Officials say the overloaded riverboat crashed into a docked barge near the Luzhniki soccer stadium in pre-dawn darkness Sunday and sank to the bottom of the river.

Seven passengers were rescued or swam to safety, including a Turkish citizen and a U.S. embassy employee. Rescue teams are still searching for one missing person.

The vessel was brought to the surface later Sunday with the help of a floating crane.

Russia's main investigative agency says the boat's captain, Gennady Zinger, who was among the dead, has faced prosecution several times for violating regulations.

Officials say the number of passengers on this trip exceeded the boat's maximum capacity of 12.

Earlier this month, a Russian tourist boat sank in bad weather in the Volga River, killing 122 people in one of Russia's deadliest river accidents in years. Prime Minister Vladimir Putin blamed that accident on vessel operators whom he accused of greed and negligence.