Saturday, April 10, 2010

Macedonia Charges Captain, Inspector over Ohrid Lake Tragedy

Macedonian prosecutors have charged suspects over the sinking of the Ilinden boat in the Ohrid Lake, which killed 15 Bulgarian tourists in September 2009.

The Prosecutor’s Office in the town of Ohrid has charged the captain of the antiquated tourist boat, Sotir Filevski, and Branko Baic, representative of the Croation company Lloyd, who inspected the vessel and issued a technical permit for its operation.

In addition to the expected charges against the boat captain Filevski, the Ohrid prosecutors have decided to charge the respective safety inspector after reviewing volumes with documentation and carrying out several technical experiments.

Filevski and Baic have been charged with “severe crimes against safety of persons and transport equipment.”

Baic, who is a Croatian citizen, is going to be notified about the charges against him through the justice ministries of Macedonia and Croatia.

A total of 15 Bulgarian tourists drowned and 40 more were injured as the Ilinden boat sunk in the Ohrid Lake in September 2009. The Bulgarians, mostly retirees, were on an excursion in Macedonia whose organizers were later revealed to have violated a number of legal procedures in Bulgaria.

The news about the charges of those suspected responsible for the Ohrid Lake tragedy comes hours after the Bulgarian Diaspora Minister Bozhidar Dimitrov announced the three local Ohrid men who rescued a number of Bulgarian tourists from drowning were granted Bulgarian citizenship.

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