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The Bulgaria was built in 1955 in Czechoslovakia and belongs to a local tourism company. It was traveling from the town of Bulgar to the regional capital, Kazan. The sinking site is about 12 miles from Bulgar.

A tourism expert said the lack of partitions inside the Bulgaria made it vulnerable to breaches.

“In case of an accident, these ships sink within minutes,” Dmitri Voropayev, head of the Samara Travel company, told RIA Novosti.

Russia’s Tourism Industry Union said the ship had not been inspected or retrofitted for years, according to the Interfax news agency.

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Associated Press writer Jim Heintz in Moscow contributed to this report.