'Instructors drunk' in Russia children drowning tragedy

8th July 2010, Comments 0 comments

Some of the instructors supervising a group of young holiday campers on a swimming excursion that saw six children drowned were drunk, Russian investigators said on Thursday.

The investigative committee of Russian prosecutors said in a statement that six children -- three girls and three boys aged between 8 and 16 -- had drowned Wednesday in the tragedy in the Sea of Azov in the south of Russia.

One instructor, 27, supervising the children also drowned in a bid to rescue them.

"According to the evidence from medical experts, three of the instructors had signs of alcoholic intoxication," the statement said.

The children, part of a group of 80 people from Moscow staying at the Azov holiday camp, had been taken on an excursion to an island off the coast where they were allowed to swim despite strong winds and currents, it added.

Russian President Dmitry Medvedev has ordered prosecutor general Yury Chaika to check the organisation of children's holidays and the observance of security rules," his spokeswoman said.

The Soviet-era tradition of summer holiday camps for children remains popular in modern Russia, with hordes of children descending each year on camps on the country's balmy Black Sea coast.

© 2010 AFP

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