Two dead, six missing in Moscow river accident

MOSCOW - Two people died and six were missing after a pleasure boat carrying 15 people collided with a barge on the Moskva River and sank early on Sunday, a police official said.

According to initial findings two people on board the private pleasure boat had died, seven were rescued and the others were missing, the source was quoted as saying by RIA-Novosti news agency.

Rescue workers were seeking for survivors Sunday morning.

Two Turkish nationals were among the passengers rescued, RIA-Novosti quoted a rescue official as saying.

The collision between the Swallow pleasure boat and the barge occurred at 00:58 am (4.58am Singapore Time) on the Moskva, the river that crosses the Russian capital. The boat sank beside the Luzhnetsky quay.

The accident may have been caused by an infraction of river navigation rules, according to Yury Bessedin, deputy director of the Moscow branch of the emergency situations ministry quoted by Interfax.

An inquiry commission was looking into the accident, RIA-Novosti said.

The sinking came just three weeks after Russia's worst post-Soviet shipping accident when 122 people died July 10 on the Volga River in the central Russian republic of Tatarstan.

The 56-year-old Bulgaria vessel was experiencing problems with one of its engines before sailing and was listing heavily to the right when it went down within minutes in a wide bend of Europe's longest river.

The craft was also overcrowded and operating without a proper license. Investigators have arrested the tour operator and a local licensing official and filed charges that could put each behind bars for 10 years.