2009 Lake Ohrid boat accident

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Approximate location of sinking in Lake Ohrid
Ilinden, the boat

Coordinates: 41°04′59″N 20°45′00″E / 41.083°N 20.75°E / 41.083; 20.75 On 5 September 2009, the Ilinden sightseeing boat with a group of 57 foreign tourists on board, of which 55 were Bulgarian, sank in Lake Ohrid, southwestern Republic of Macedonia. Fifteen people died.[1][2] The sinking of the Ilinden was the deadliest boat accident in the history of the Republic of Macedonia.[3]

Lake Ohrid is the deepest lake in the Balkans, with maximum depth of 288 metres (945 ft).[4] The Ilinden boat was taking tourists to the Saint Naum Monastery. The boat, built in 1924,[5] had a maximum capacity of 45 passengers.[1] It sank within four minutes, some 200 metres (700 ft) from the shore, in shallow waters. The boat is said to have sunk around 11:00 AM local time,[1] in the vicinity of the Elešec camping site. Two other boats, the Alexandria and the Kristina, were nearby and were able to assist the passengers of the Ilinden. Most of the tourists on board were senior citizens, many of whom were unable to swim. Victims were from Pirdop, Zlatitsa, Chelopech and particularly Anton.[6]

The Republic of Macedonia's top officials visited the place of the accident. Prime Minister of Bulgaria Boyko Borisov ordered that a Bulgarian government aeroplane bring the surviving Bulgarians back home.[1] Another aeroplane, a Bulgarian Air Force C-27J Spartan, transported the corpses of Bulgarian victims.[6] The Minister of Transportation and Communications of the Republic of Macedonia Mile Janakievski offered his resignation over the accident due to moral reasons,[7] which was not accepted by Prime Minister Nikola Gruevski.[8]

6 September was declared a national day of mourning in the Republic of Macedonia. Similarly, 7 September was declared a national day of mourning in Bulgaria and all official events related to the celebration of the Bulgarian unification on 6 September were cancelled.[4][6] A minute of silence was observed before Macedonia and Bulgaria's 2010 FIFA World Cup qualifiers later on 5 September and against Scotland and Montenegro.

A nongovernmental organization, the Bulgarian Cultural Club – Skopje proposed to Mayor Aleksandar Petreski of Ohrid the erection of a monument commemorating both the victims of the accident and those whose help saved many lives.[9]

The Ilinden still unused (2016)


  1. ^ a b c d
    • "Macedonia boat sinking 'kills 15'". BBC. 2009-09-05. Retrieved 2009-09-05.
    • "15 dead as Macedonian tour boat sinks". CNN. 2009-09-05. Retrieved 2009-09-05.
  2. ^ http://www.nsd.se/nyheter/artikel.aspx?ArticleID=4855239
  3. ^ "Најголема бродска несреќа во Македонија" (in Macedonian). A1. 2009-09-05. Retrieved 2009-09-05.
  4. ^ a b "PM: 15 Bulgarians Dead as Boat Sinks in Macedonia Lake". Sofia News Agency. 2009-09-05. Retrieved 2009-09-05.
  5. ^ ""Илинден" произведен 1924 година" (in Macedonian). A1. 2009-09-05. Retrieved 2009-09-05.
  6. ^ a b c Виткова, Нора; Ралица Йорданова (2009-09-05). "Кораб с българи потъна в Охридското езеро" (in Bulgarian). News.bg. Retrieved 2009-09-05.
  7. ^ Minister of Transport and Communication resigned
  8. ^ Macedonian government refuses to accept Janakievski's resignation. SETimes.com, 10 September 2009. Accessed 2009-09-27. Archived 2009-09-30.
  9. ^