Fifty-four people were confirmed dead and 50 more were still missing after a river cruise ship sank on Russia’s Volga River on Sunday, Russian news agency Ria Novosti reported on Monday.

Eighty people have been rescued, according to news reports.

The twin-deck Bulgaria sank at 1:58 p.m. local time on Sunday in the Tatarstan region of Russia en route from Bolgar to the port city of Kazan.

The 56-year-old riverboat had a maximum capacity of 120 passengers, but was carrying 207 people, Ria Novosti reported.

The news agency said that the ship was renovated 30 years ago but had no license for carrying passengers and had a number of safety deficiencies, including an engine that didn't work.

Ria Novosti reported that the Russian Transport Ministry said that the vessel passed a regular technical inspection on June 15 this year.

The Bulgaria had life rafts for 120 people, and two lifeboats for 36 people as well as 165 life vests for adults and 12 for children.

Witnesses said the vessel rolled on its right side and sank within eight minutes, Ria Novosti reported. The ship may have flooded rapidly due to open portholes and a list to its starboard side, an investigation committee said.

U.S. river cruise companies Viking River Cruises, Ama Waterways and Uniworld River Cruises operate cruises on the Volga River, but far from where the Bulgaria sunk. They run cruises between Moscow and St. Petersburg.

Kazan, the capital of the Republic of Tatarstan, is about 450 miles east of Moscow.


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