Boat sinks in Macedonia lake, 17 people drown
A sightseeing boat carrying dozens of Bulgarian tourists sank Saturday in a lake on Macedonia's western border, and at least 17 people drowned, police said, according to AP.
The boat, called the Ilinden, sank rapidly into Lake Ohrid, police spokesman Ivo Kotevski said. Rescuers pulled 53 survivors from the water, including four who were unresponsive and were hospitalized in the town of Ohrid, he said.
At least 17 bodies have been recovered from the lake - the deepest in the Balkans, located along the mountainous border between Macedonia and Albania.
"A police diving team is on the scene, and we fear more people have drowned," Kotevski said, adding that it was still unclear exactly how many were on board.
Witnesses said the boat was about 200 meters (656 feet) from shore when it split in two and sank unexpectedly, according to Macedonia's private A1 television.
The broadcaster said the boat was carrying 50 tourists from Bulgaria among others, and had been traveling from Ohrid, on the lake's eastern shore, to the medieval Eastern Orthodox monastery complex Sveti Naum about 29 kilometers (18 miles) to the south near the Albanian border. Lake Ohrid itself has been a UNESCO world heritage site since 1979.
Kotevski said it is not clear yet why the boat sank.
"This is the worst accident that has ever happened on Lake Ohrid," local police spokesman Stefan Dimoski said.
Macedonian President Gjorgje Ivanov and four Cabinet ministers were traveling to the scene.