PM: 15 Bulgarians Dead as Boat Sinks in Macedonia Lake
Fifteen Bulgarians died and another six have been declared missing on Saturday when an ageing tourist boat sank within seconds into Macedonia's Lake Ohrid, a popular attraction in the Balkans, the prime minister said.
Eleven bodies have already been identified, Prime Minister Boyko Borisov said at a press conference.
Reports about the number of the dead and injured remained contradictory late into Saturday.
The Iliden was 200 metres off the shore when it apparently capsized into the deepest lake in the region at around 11:00 am (0900 GMT) near a campground outside Ohrid city.
Monday, September 7, 2009, is going to be the official mourning day in Bulgaria for the casualties of the ship accident in the Ohrid Lake tragedy that happened Saturday.
All celebrations for Bulgaria's Unification Day, September 6, have been canceled over the tragedy.
Borisov announced that 11 bodies of Bulgarian citizens who drowned in Ohrid Saturday after the Ilinden ship sank had been identified. The people come from the Bulgarian towns of Pirdop, Zlatitsa, Chelopech, and Anton.
Six other elderly women are also believed to be among the casualties, as they went inside ship because of the scorching sun, and are missing; their bodies have not been recovered but they are believed to have drowned inside the ship.
The names of those identified are: Georgi Metanov, Kuna Madzharova, Todor Stamenov, Nevenka Nikolova, Slavka Ivanova, Binka Gushanova, Mariya Dimitrova, Nonko Madzharov, Gina Georgieva, Pavel Pavlov, Lyshka Georgieva.
Borisov said the government was ready any moment to send a military transport plane Spartan in order to bring to Bulgaria the dead bodies.
A Bulgarian government plane Tu 154 has already landed in Macedonia in order to collect the survivors.
PM Borisov has expressed his conviction that the Macedonian authorities will do everything necessary to punish those responsible for the tragedy.
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