Russian rescuers have lifted the cruise ship Bulgaria out of the Volga River two weeks after the ship capsized mid-trip, killing 122 people. Authorities are hoping that the wreckage will give clues into why the tragedy happened.
Emergency Services crewmen pulled the boat off the river-bed and towed it to shallower waters, where they began pumping out water. The move has already allowed the government to confirm the 122-person death toll, as well as offering a few details about the last minutes of the Bulgaria's final voyage.
While there is no official determination of why the 56-year-old ship sank, authorities found the ship's wheel turned all the way right and the engine set at full power, an indication that the captain was desperately trying to steer the ship into shallow waters, according to The Moscow Times.
It is currently believed that the vessel had at least one under-powered engine and could not recover when forced into a dangerous position amidst large waves. The ship was built in 1955, and had not been property inspected or refurbished for over 30 years.
The boat sank 66 feet. Most of the passengers who later died were trapped inside the boat as it sank. If the captain had made it to shallower waters, more people could have been rescued, according to Emergency Situations Ministry official Igor Panshin.
Two people have been charged over the incident: Svetlana Inyakina, head of the company that rented the Bulgaria, and Yakov Ivashov, an inspector who checked the Bulgaria before its departure.
The Bulgaria was severely overloaded when it set sail on a river cruise for vacationing Russians. The boat sank on July 10. It was the worst Russian maritime disaster since 1986, when a passenger ship and a freighter collided killing 423. According to witnesses, the boat sank in less than two minutes.
Russian President Dmitri Medvedev and other Russian authorities are currently looking for two other boat captains who sailed by the drowning passengers, but did not stop to help.