A guide and seven tourists lost their lives during a tour of Moscow’s sewer system on Sunday, August 20.
The incident unfolded as the group became trapped underneath the city due to torrential rains over the weekend. Russian state news confirmed the tragic outcome of the trip.
The ill-fated group had embarked on a tour of the Neglinka River, which winds through the city via an intricate network of historic tunnels dating back to the 19th century. Relentless downpours flooded the Neglinka tunnel, with rapidly rising waters trapping the tourists inside. They were eventually swept into the Moskva River.
Rescue efforts were launched, with divers scouring the waters. The victims were located near Zaryadye Park, a central hub in the city, as reported by the BBC. A rescue worker said, “Now all eight participants in the excursion have been found. They all died. The search operation is at an end.”
Authorities are investigating the circumstances of the tour group, suspecting illegality and potential breaches of safety standards during their underground expedition. The tour’s organization involved three people, with one facing charges and another reportedly fleeing to the United Arab Emirates.
Among the victims, three identities have been disclosed: an employee of the tour company, along with his 15-year-old daughter and 17-year-old nephew.
Moscow Mayor Sergei Sobyanin expressed his condolences, calling the incident a terrible tragedy.
Initially, over 20 people had planned to participate in the tour, as reported by the Ria news agency, but most withdrew due to adverse weather forecasts.