9 killed when boat hits barge on Moscow River

By the Associated Press | July 31, 2011 | 7:44 AM EDT

Rescue team members work at the site of a pleasure boat sinking in Moscow, Russia, Sunday, July 31, 2011. Russian officials say an overloaded motor boat sank in the Moscow River after crashing into a docked barge in the pre-dawn darkness and 9 people were killed. (AP Photo/Mikhail Metzel)

MOSCOW (AP) — An overloaded motor boat crashed into a docked barge on the Moscow River in pre-dawn darkness Sunday, killing nine of the 16 people on board, officials said. The other seven passengers swam to safety or were rescued as the boat quickly sank.

Vladimir Markin, the spokesman for the main investigative agency, laid the blame on the owner and captain of the boat, who was among those killed.

Markin said the owner, Gennady Zinger, had been found in violation of regulations three times in the past, including for exceeding the boat's maximum capacity of 12. The boat was carrying 16 people when it crashed at 1:30 a.m.

He said investigators have questioned the survivors and also four crew members of the barge who had helped rescue them.

One of the surviving passengers is a Turkish citizen, the Investigative Committee said in a statement.

Crews were working to lift the boat from the bottom of the river, which runs past the Kremlin as it makes a large loop through the Russian capital.