Children's Bodies Found in Volga River Disaster

About 50 people, mostly children, discovered in interior room
By Evann Gastaldo,  Newser Staff
Posted Jul 12, 2011 12:00 PM CDT
Relatives of Faina Valiullina, a victim of cruise ship sinking, cry during her funeral outside Kazan, on the Volga River, in central Russia, Tuesday, July 12, 2011.   (AP Photo/Misha Japaridze)
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(Newser) – A tragic confirmation from the Russian Volga river disaster: Divers searching the sunken cruise ship discovered the bodies of about 50 people, mostly children, in one of the ship's recreation areas. The children were known to have been brought to the interior area minutes before the ship went down on Sunday. Though the disaster is thought to have killed up to 129 people, the official death toll remains at 83, with 16 of those children, Reuters reports.

Just 79 of the 208 people on board were rescued, according to authorities. Twenty-five of the passengers on the boat, which was only meant to carry 140, were not registered. Prosecutors, who have opened a criminal investigation, say the boat had engine problems and did not have a license to carry passengers when it set out. President Dmitri Medvedev has promised harsh punishment for anyone who violated transport safety rules, and called for tougher legislation.

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