Fifth Russian dies from alcohol poisoning in Turkey

21st June 2011, Comments 0 comments

A fifth Russian died Tuesday following a mass outbreak of poisoning among guides believed to have drunk counterfeit alcohol on a yachting trip in Turkey, Anatolia news agency said.

The head physician of a hospital in Turkey's Mediterranean city of Antalya announced the brain death of Victoria Nikolayeva, 23, adding that she would be kept in intensive care until her heart stops, according to Anatolia.

The victims, one of whom died after flown home, were among 30 people who fell ill after a yachting trip near the resort town of Bodrum in late May, involving a total of 120 Russian guides.

The probe has resulted in the discovery of high dozes of methanol, commonly used to mix bootleg alcohol, in blood samples from the victims and the seizure of some 200 bottles of counterfeit drinks on vessels operated by the same yachting company, according to media reports.

Four Turks involved in the yachting company and the firm that supplied the drinks have been arrested as part of the ongoing investigation.

The incident sounded alarm in Turkey's flourishing tourism sector, a vital source of income, just as the summer season was taking off.

The authorities have drawn up tighter measures to combat bootleg alcohol and carried out several raids on suspected suppliers.

In 2009, 11 people, including three German students, died in Turkey after drinking bootleg spirits and 22 perished in 2005 after consuming adulterated raki, a powerful, anise-flavoured spirit.

Many have blamed the emergence of illegal stills on hefty taxes levied on alcoholic beverages by Turkey's Islamist-rooted government since it came to power in 2002.

© 2011 AFP

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