Moscow:  Rescuers on Monday  salvaged bodies of 48 people, including five children, from a vintage Russian double-decker passenger ship that capsized on Volga River, while some 80 people remain missing a day after the worst boat accident since 1986.
   
"We have recovered 48 bodies," said an official from Russia's east-central republic of Tatarstan, where the boat with 188 tourists on board sank Sunday amid wind and rain.
One body was recovered Sunday.

At an emergency meeting with the concerned officials at his countryside retreat near Moscow, President Dmitry Medvedev on Monday declared a state mourning Tuesday in view of heavy human losses.
   
In his televised remarks, Medvedev ordered thorough checks of all passengers vessels plying in the country as the 'Bulgaria' diesel-electric ship was built in 1955 in former Czechoslovakia and was said to be in 'poor technical' shape.
   
Round-the-clock rescue operation involving 307 people, including 49 divers and 73 units of special equipment is underway.
   
Emergency Situations Minister Sergei Shoigu briefed Medvedev on the plans to lift the sunken ship from under the 23 meter deep water for retracting dead bodies, state-run Rossiya 24 news channel reported.
   
Quoting Shoigu Interfax reported that Sunday's ship tragedy is the worst since the sinking of Admiral Nakhimov passenger ship in the Black Sea in 1986 that 423 of the 1,234 people on board dead.

According to 80 survivors, the ship went down on its right side and within minutes it sank. At the time of the accident most of the children were assembled in the children's room on the second deck for games and many survivors lost their children.
   
Medvedev has appointed Transport Minister Igor Levitin as the head of the high level commission probing the cause of accident.
   
The Transport Ministry has set up a crisis centre that is looking into the cause of the disaster. A group of investigators and criminal law experts from the Russian Investigation Committee have flown from Moscow to Tatarstan to help the probe.
   
Operational error is currently considered the likeliest cause of the accident, a source in the investigation told the Russian tabloid.
   
"According to a preliminary investigation, the vessel could have sunk because it was too old," the source said. "Overloading is also not excluded [as a reason]. There's no information that the cruiser collided with something."
   
A criminal case has been initiated over what caused the accident.
   
The Russian online tabloid reports the sunken vessel had an engine failure, but the ship's captain made a decision to leave despite the breakdown in the engine room.
   
The tabloid said one of the crew members told them that several hours before departure the crew found out one of the two engines was not working properly.
   
"The power of the ship therefore dwindled," tabloid quoted the crew member, who requested anonymity, as saying.
   
"If the engine worked properly, the ship would have coped with the current and storm and more likely wouldn't have tilted," the source said.

(Agencies)