'She held brother's hand throughout': 12yo girl survives Russian lake disaster, raises alarm

Children rescued from capsized boats on the Syamozero Lake, Karelia © Ilya Timin
It appears that an incident with tourist vessels packed with children having capsized in northwest Russia, became known to the rescuers after a report by a surviving girl, as organizers had not informed the rescue services about the trip.

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The tragedy that occurred on the Lake Syamozero in Karelia was reported by Yulia K., a 12-year-old girl from Moscow, who was cast ashore and managed to make it to the nearest settlement on her own.

A tourist group on board of two boats and a raft got caught in a storm on Saturday.

After two boats capsized, the girl was cast ashore, where she lay unconscious till Sunday. After she became so cold that she recovered consciousness, the girl went along the shore to the village of Kudama, a source in the security services told Russian media. On her way to the village, the girl reportedly found a boy from the tourist group, who was “covered in blood and unable to move.”

After the girl got to the village, residents called the emergency services.

Aleksandr, who lives in Kudama, told LifeNews media outlet that the girl behaved very bravely and did not cry, though she looked very tired and was drenched.

“First we thought that she just got lost. But when she told us what happened, we called rescue services and police at once,” he said. The girl also told them that her brother was on the boat with her and she was holding his hand all the way through, but then they were forced apart by the storm.

“She was just walking along the store. She knocked at three houses but no one was in, and then she got to us.”

After the girl was warmed up, police took her to the base where she was reunited with her brother, who also survived the accident.

“Thank God, they both managed to survive,” Aleksandr said.

The tourist group was not registered with the local rescue services before starting the trip. The organizers did not inform the rescuers about their plans, authorities said.

The group was from a summer camp located nearby.

The horrific incident on the lake resulted in the deaths of 14 children. The group consisted of 47 children between 12 and 15 years old and four adults, according to the Emergencies Ministry.

At least five children have been hospitalized with hypothermia and light injuries.

Moscow authorities are sending rescuers, doctors, psychologists and social workers to the scene.

The Investigative Committee has launched a criminal investigation into the incident and a massive check-up of local tourist services and children camps.