Paramedic gets 3 years in prison in Karelia lake tragedy case
MOSCOW, April 4 (RAPSI) – Ambulance paramedic Irina Shcherbakova, who had allegedly refused to notify rescue services about children drowning in the lake Syamozero in Russia’s Republic of Karelia, was sentenced to 3 years in prison on Tuesday, the Investigative Committee’s press service announced.
The sentence is suspended until Shcherbakova’s daughter reaches the age of 14.
Earlier, prosecutor has asked court to give the woman a 4-year prison sentence, suspended until her child reaches the age of 18.
On June 18, 2016, children and the camp’s instructors were sailing on a raft and two canoes over the lake Syamozero in Karelia. 47 children were accompanied by 4 adults, who did not take gathering storm into account. Storm made sailing extremely dangerous: a raft with children and two adults washed up near one of the islands while both canoes were capsized, leaving passengers in the open waters.
Only some managed to swim across to the shore. According to the Investigative Committee, 14 children drowned. Other children survived and were evacuated. The camp has been closed.
Investigators allege that Shcherbakova received a phone call from a child on the day of tragedy. A child told Shcherbakova that he and others are drowning, yet the paramedic did not react to this call and did not notify the rescue services causing critical delay of rescue operation by 18 hours. One of the rescue teams was on standby only in 100 kilometers away from the site.
Shcherbakova who was responsible for reception and transfer of phone calls to local hospital was has been charged with negligence that lead to death of more than two people. She pleaded guilty in part and considers these events to be a mistake.
Elena Reshetova, the director of Syamozero Park Hotel camp, her deputy, Vadim Vinogradov, and the camp’s instructor, Valery Krupodershikov have been charged with rendering of services in violation of safety protocol which accidentally lead two or more people to death. They were also accused of leaving people in danger.
Investigators believe that Reshetova, Vinogradov and Krupodershikov deliberately refused to notify local emergency services about the accident to prevent negative reaction of society from ruining camp’s reputation and inflicting losses. They are believed to abandon children in water during the storm.
On February 7, the Moscow Commercial Court collected 2.3 million rubles (about $39,000) from “Syamozero” on a claim filed by the Department of labor and social protection.