The skipper, who crashed his catamaran boat into a barge on the Volga River, was drunk at the time of the deadly accident, Russia’s Investigative Committee said. The man and ten of his passengers died in the crash.
The incident happened late on Monday, with a barge crashing into a twin-hull boat near the river port of the southern city of Volgograd. “It were the actions of the owner of the passenger vessel, who was behind the wheel, that led to the tragedy,” Svetlana Petrenko, Investigative Committee spokeswoman, said.
The captain ignored all light and sound signals coming from the barge before the crash, she said. “Moreover, according to preliminary data of the forensic experts, the owner of the boat was intoxicated,” Petrenko added.
11 people, including a child, were killed in the accident, while five other passengers of the boat were rescued, she said. The twin-hull ship wasn’t properly registered, with its owner lacking papers, required to carry out navigation.
A source in the emergency services earlier told Interfax that the captain of the boat, who was among the fatalities, had been identified as Dmitry Khakhalev, a former head of one of the districts of the Volgograd Region. In 2009, Khakhalev was sentenced to four years in prison on charges of rape, infliction of bodily harm and hooliganism, involving firearms.
In June 2011, Russia was rocked by one of its worst river incidents in decades when 112 people were killed after the ‘Bulgaria’ pleasure boat sank during a storm on the Volga River in the Republic of Tatarstan.