The captains of two ships that collided in the Black Sea, killing up to 400 people, are being held under guard and are accused of violating navigational safety rules, official Soviet news reports said today.
A Communist Party official, meanwhile, said 37 more bodies have been recovered, bringing to 116 the number confirmed dead in the crash about midnight Sunday. Another 282 people are missing and believed dead.
Albert I. Vlasov, first deputy chief of the party propaganda department, released the new figures at a news conference.
By Monday, rescuers had pulled 836 people from the water. Vlasov said teams are still searching for any survivors but have little hope that anyone will be found alive.
He confirmed reports in the official press that Vadim Markov, captain of the cruise liner, and Viktor Tkachenko, captain of the freighter, are being held pending an investigation into the crash.
The government newspaper Izvestia said that an investigatory commission has questioned 400 people so far and that there will be a trial of those “by whose guilt the accident occurred.” It did not specify who will be tried.
According to initial reports, there were 1,234 people aboard the Admiral Nakhimov when it sank at about midnight Sunday after being rammed by the freighter.