Many killed as Macedonia boat sinks

At least 15 people drown as tourist vessel capsizes in Macedodia's Ohrid lake.

    The boat was carrying more than 70 passengers, well above its capacity of 43 [AFP]

    Rescue teams were looking for three missing people.

    Jankulovska said the captain was among the dead and that the boat was carrying "a group of Bulgarian tourists and their Macedonian guide".

    Survivors stable

    Some of the survivors were hurt but in a stable condition, she said.

    "I saw a boat filled with tourists which, for some unexplained reason, veered like an outboard motor boat to the right and then immediately fell onto its side"

    Gerard Buittat, witness

    Jankulovska said The Iliden, built in Germany in 1924, had 73 people on board although its capacity is 43.

    One survivor said the boat sank suddenly and that there were not enough life jackets.
      
    "The boat swerved sharply and capsized. It started to sink instantly and everybody tried to save their lives the way they could," the survivor told Bulgarian radio.
      
    "They grabbed wooden planks and life buoys, but there were not enough buoys and not enough life-saving jackets."
      
    He said he held on to a plank while his wife and three other women stayed afloat with a buoy until a boat rescued them.

    Overloading
      
    A Bulgarian aircraft was dispatched to take survivors home and officials in Sofia, Bulgaria's capital, blamed overcrowding as the likely cause of the disaster.

    Gerard Buittat, a Frenchman who was on a visit to the region, told the AFP news agency he saw the boat go down in less than a minute.

    "I saw a boat filled with tourists which, for some unexplained reason, veered like an outboard motor boat to the right and then immediately fell on to its side," he said.

    "I took a photo of the boat when it was still on its side. In the time it took for me to get out of my car - in the space of 30 seconds - it sank."

    Residents at the camping site 12km south of Ohrid used boats to take survivors ashore. They were joined by the emergency services.

    SOURCE: Agencies


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