Signs underwater of desperate bid to save lives – rescue divers

Posted: 07/12/2011 in all marine news

RT –

Rescuers working at the wreck site of the Bulgaria pleasure cruiser say many of the dead just had time to put on life vests, but failed to escape. The ship sank on Sunday on the Volga River and only 79 of the 209 people onboard survived.

“We were forced to cancel our vacation. This tragedy has left none of us – people accustomed to seeing massive grief – untouched. So many of our countrymen have died,” divers of the rescue team “Leader” said in an interview with Komsomolskaya Pravda newspaper.

The conditions for the operation are difficult.

“There is practically no visibility at the bottom. A good flashlight could allow you to see for no more than half a meter. And without light it was pitch-black darkness there, like during the night,” they said.

The sunken ship is lying less than 20 meters underwater and is unstable.

“The waves rock the vessel all the time. If it suddenly tips over, not every rescue diver will manage to get out,” they said.

“There are no dead outside – all of them are inside the ship. And it’s dark as night inside without a flashlight. So we work with lights. A single breathing gas cylinder is good for 60 to 90 minutes.”

The divers’ main task now is to find all the bodies inside the ship and take them to the surface.

“We search for free ways to places we need to get to and get somebody out. If we see somebody behind bars, we cut them. If there is nobody, we go on and search for new access routes,” they explained.

There are many signs underwater of a panic and attempts to escape the doomed ship.

“Many of the dead are wearing floatation vests. They managed to put them on, but failed to get out,” the rescuers said.

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