Russian boat toll rises to 120

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Divers on Sunday pulled the bodies of six more people from a tourist boat that sank in the Volga River two weeks ago, bringing the confirmed toll from Russia's worst shipping disaster to 120.

Two more people whose names appear on the Bulgaria boat's crew and passenger list are still unaccounted for and presumed dead, Interfax quoted a local emergencies ministry official as saying.

The 56-year-old vessel sank in a wide bend of Europe's longest river on July 10. Survivors said the boat was experiencing problems with one of its engines before sailing and was listing heavily to the right.

The craft was also overcrowded and operating without a proper license, officials said. Investigators have arrested the tour operator and a local licensing official and have promised to expand their criminal probe.

The boat was partially raised on Friday and moved Saturday evening to shallower waters where it will be slowly drained of water and inspected.

Officials requested the expensive boat recovery operation to confirm what caused the accident.

© 2011 AFP

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