The Ukrainian excursion boat that capsized in the Black Sea, killing 14 people, was carrying twice as many passengers as allowed and was knocked over by a big wave, officials and survivors said Sunday.
“It was a big storm, we were on our way back to port and it just overturned in one moment,” said Dmytro Martynov, who was among 37 people onboard the Ivolga when it capsized Saturday afternoon near the major port city of Odessa.
Mikhail Saakashvili, Odessa’s governor and former president of Georgia, said the boat was hit by a wave in a channel.
“The waves there are quite strong, the weather had changed for the worse and the Ivolga overturned,” he said.
“The crew used a safety raft. Most of the passengers survived on this raft, but unfortunately 12 people died and two disappeared.”
Olga Shevchuk of the state emergency services said the vessel was approved for only 12 passengers and three crew members, while it was carrying a total of 37.
“The accident was caused by overloading,” she told The Associated Press. The captain of the boat has been detained.
A photo of the boat published by the Ukrainian news agency Unian showed it as a small motor vessel with awning-shaded viewing areas both fore and aft.