Number of drownings up during Russian heatwave: officials

20th August 2010, Comments 0 comments

More than 200 people drowned in Moscow this summer as people went swimming to seek relief from Russia's record heatwave, the public health department in the capital said Friday.

The number of drownings was 2.5 times greater than the same period last year, the health department's statistics showed.

"This summer the capital's water spots were particularly popular with citizens," as temperatures hit 40 degrees Celsius (104 degrees Fahrenheit) in July and August, the department said, according to the Ria Novosti news agency.

The biggest single number of drownings in a day, 13, was reported on July 26.

According to Ria Novosti, the health department chief, Andrei Seltsovsky, said the main causes of the drownings were due to bathing in inappropriate areas and consuming too much alcohol.

According to figures from the national emergencies ministry, as of the end of July nearly 2,500 people drowned in the country since the beginning of the summer, the vast majority due to drunkenness.

That compares with 2,733 drownings for all of last year.

© 2010 AFP

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