At least 15 orphans or children from troubled families have drowned at a Russian summer camp after their boats capsized in a storm in the Karelia region, northwest Russia.
According to Russia’s Investigative Committee, the incident took place on Sunday on Lake Syamozero, close to the border with Finland. Thirty-seven people survived the accident.
According to Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov, the investigation was ordered directly by Russian President Vladimir Putin.
“The president gave relevant instructions to Investigative Committee to identify the causes of the tragedy and to identify those guilty of it,” said Peskov.
A committee spokesman added that all the victims were between the ages of nine and 15, from Moscow, and were either orphans or from troubled families.
He noted that four people from the hotel’s staff have been detained during the criminal investigation.
“Within the framework of a criminal investigation, a legal assessment will be given to the actions of the staff of the children’s camp and other responsible parties, which send the children boating in bad weather,” the spokesman added.
“Unfortunately, it won’t be possible to bring back the children,” said Vladimir Markin, another spokesman for the committee.
Markin also criticized lack of attention to safety measures from the camp’s personnel, saying that the kids were not wearing safety vests during the tragic boat trip.
“I sympathize with all the parents and those close to the children, who died because of the negligence and stupidity of the adults, with whom they had entrusted what was dearest to them: the lives and health of their children,” he added.