At least 15 die after boat sinks in Macedonian lake

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Saturday, September 5, 2009

Police officials have said that at least fifteen people have died after the sightseeing boat Ilinden, with 50 Bulgarian tourists on board, sank in a lake in western Macedonia.

The boat sank in Lake Ohrid, one of the deepest lakes in southeastern Europe. 53 people were rescued by emergency crews. Witness reports suggest the boat split in half at around 11.00 local time (09.00 UTC) when it was 200 metres from the shore.

"A police diving team is on the scene, and we fear more people have drowned," said police spokesman Ivo Kotevski.

The boat was reportedly headed from the city of Ohrid on the eastern shore of the lake to the Sveti Naum monastery, located close to the border with Albania.

It is still uncertain what caused the boat to sink.