20 still missing from sunken Russian boat

July 14, 2011 13:49

MOSCOW - Russian divers recovered more bodies from the wreck of a tourist boat that sank to the bottom of the Volga River, bringing the confirmed death toll to 109 in Russia's worst river disaster in decades.

Twenty people were still missing and presumed dead as divers neared the end of their search of the boat that sank on Sunday, regional Emergencies Ministry official Igor Panshin said. He said at least 24 of the bodies recovered were those of children.

The Bulgaria, a 79-meter river cruiser built in 1955, listed onto its right side during a thunderstorm and sank in minutes in a broad stretch of the Volga in the Tatarstan region, trapping many passengers inside.

Survivors have said up to 30 children had gathered in a recreation room on the boat shortly before it sank, and emergency officials have said divers saw many bodies of children in the room.

Searchers have broadened the scope of their operation to an area stretching 190 km (120 miles) around the site.

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