Fire reduces Moscow River cruise ship to ashes

A crew member remains missing and another person is in a critical condition following a fire which destroyed all three decks of a cruise ship moored on the Moscow River.

­Around 20 people and 16 crew members are reported to have been on board on the cruise ship “Sergey Abramov” when the fire broke out at approximately 3:00 on Monday morning (23:00 GMT).

Most managed to escape unharmed, but at least two were taken to hospital with injuries.

One crew member is unaccounted for.

The majority of people on board were in the restaurant when the blaze started.   

Thirty-two fire teams and two rescue boats were involved in the fire-fighting operation, according to reports.
Salvage teams have started to pump out water to prevent the boat from sinking. 

Emergency workers are trying to prevent the leakage of fuel into the water.

Meanwhile, fresh reports say that the fire has reignited with renewed force.

Faulty wiring or negligence are the two theories investigators are working on in a bid to discover the cause of the blaze.

Reports that the ship was being used as a hotel have been denied by officials, who say the cruiser tied up at the port just hours before the fire occurred.

The boat was believed to be quite secure and was often used for pleasure cruises to cities along the river.

Trips on the cruiser became popular amongst Russians after the vessel featured in a popular comedy film.

The blaze is the latest in a series of disasters to hit Russian river vessels this year.

Dozens of children were among more than 100 killed when the pleasure cruiser Bulgaria sank to the bottom of the Volga River near the city of Kazan in July. Later that month, nine died when a boat collided with a barge and sank in Moscow.