12 Jul 2011

Russia mourns victims of boat tragedy

10:22 pm on 12 July 2011

Russians are observing a national day of mourning for more than 120 people believed to have died when a tourist boat sank on the Volga River.

Some 50 children were said to be among those who drowned when the Bulgaria sank on on Sunday.

About 80 people were rescued on the wide section of the river in Tatarstan, 750km east of Moscow, the BBC reports.

Divers have recovered about 50 bodies from the double decker craft so far.

Prayers are being been said in orthodox churches throughout the country and at the Port of Kazan, where the boat was heading, a memorial service was held.

Officials say the boat's capacity was 120 passengers and crew, but it had been carrying 208 people.

President Dmitry Medvedev has ordered a check of all transport services, saying the old boat was in a poor condition.