Appeals over Russia holiday camp deaths

Three years ago, tragedy struck for a group of children out on boats at Lake Syamozero in northern Russia’s Karelia region.

Fourteen people, mostly children, died when their boats capsized in a storm.

The children had been sent on an activity holiday organised by Moscow’s local government for children from low-income families.

But evidence suggests camp staff ignored severe storm warnings by emergency services and dismissed children’s pleas to cancel the boat trip, insisting they go.

In March 2019, the camp’s director and her deputy to were sentenced to 9.5 years in prison. Two officials from Russia’s consumer watchdog who were responsible for checking the camp and camp’s instructor were acquitted.

The BBC has found evidence that parents and local officials informed Moscow government about overcrowding, poor conditions and weak safety procedures in the camp in 2015.

Families of the victims and the state prosecutor disagree with the acquittals of the officials and one instructor. The camp’s director and her assistant have also appealed against their sentences. The court is expected to decide later today.

Reporter: Yulia James

Camera: Yevgeny Zhuravlev