(11 a.m. EDT) -- A Russian river ship sailing between Moscow and St. Petersburg was left with a five-meter hole after it collided with a sand barge earlier today.
According to The Moscow Times, none of the Sergei Kirov's 111 passengers, which included Americans, Germans and Italians, were injured. Three crew members sustained minor bumps and bruises. The Sergei Kirov had been chartered by Viking River Cruises, a popular U.S.-based company that offers river cruises in Europe and Asia (the line has yet to respond to our request for comment).
A spokesman for the local branch of the Emergency Situations Ministry told Interfax, a news organization covering Russia and China, that "The crew listed the ship immediately and began bailing water out and removing property from [flooded] cabins. The water was pumped out, and a patch was improvised from inside."
The Emergency Situations Ministry told the Associated Press that motor boats were sent to the scene to pick up the cruise passengers, who were then bused back to Moscow. The Moscow Times, however, is also reporting (via Lifenews.ru) that 83 of the passengers refused to travel on a lower class ship than the Sergei Kirov, and a third motor ship had to be sent for them.
--by Dan Askin, Associate Editor
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Russian River Ship Left With Hole After Colliding With Barge
August 18, 2010