The Bulgaria, a double-decker passenger ship carrying at least 180 people on a pleasure cruise, has sunk in the Volga River after it ran into a storm.
Eighty survivors were pulled from the river, but five people were found dead, and the rest remain missing.
The local Emergency Situations Ministry said there was little chance of finding more passengers alive.
About 30 children had gathered in a second-deck playroom just before the ship began to sink, one survivor said. The entire incident reportedly lasted only three minutes.
Al Jazeera's Roza Kazan reports.