MOSCOW, May 5 (RAPSI) – Investigation into six defendants in a criminal case over an accident at the Syamozero lake in Russia’s Republic of Karelia that resulted in the death of 14 children, has been completed, the Investigative Committee announced on Friday.
Defendants in the case are former head of Karelia’s Rospotrebnadzor Anatoly Kovalenko, his deputy Lyudmila Kotovich, director of Syamozero Park Hotel camp Elena Reshetova, the camp’s coordinator Vadim Vinogradov and the camp’s instructors Valery Krupodershikov and Pavel Ilyin.
Reshetova, Vinogradov Krupodershikov and Ilyin were charged with rendering of services in violation of safety protocol which accidentally lead two or more people to death. Kovalenko and Kotovich were charged with negligence.
According to investigators, on June 18, 2016, 47 children and instructors of the children’s camp “Park-Hotel “Syamozero” were sailing on a raft and two canoes over the lake Syamozero in Karelia despite the fact that management of the camp, including Reshetova, Vinogradov, Krupodershchikov and Ilyin were informed about dangerous weather conditions.
Children were accompanied by 4 adults (Vinogradov, Krupodershchikov, Regina Ivanova and Lyudmila Vasilyeva) who did not take gathering storm into account. Storm made sailing extremely dangerous: a raft with children and two adults washed up near one of the islands while both canoes were capsized, leaving passengers in the open waters. Only some managed to swim across to the shore. 14 children drowned. Other children survived and were evacuated.
Investigators allege that Reshetova, Vinogradov and Krupodershikov deliberately refused to notify local emergency services about the accident to prevent negative reaction of society from ruining camp’s reputation and inflicting losses. Defendants in the case are believed to abandon children in water during the storm.
Investigators also believe that former officials of Karelia’s Rospotrebnadzor, Kovalenko and Kotovich, were aware about unsavory conditions at the camp and did not take appropriate measures eventually leading to the tragedy.
On August 10, the Commercial Court of the Republic of Karelia fined infamous “Park-Hotel “Syamozero” 200,000 rubles ($3,000). The court thus granted a lawsuit lodged by the republican Health Ministry demanding to hold the camp administratively liable. According to court records, the ministry’s lawsuit was conditioned by licensing violation committed by the defendant.