Kremlin orders probe after children drown on summer camp

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Russian President Dmitry Medvedev Friday ordered an urgent probe into conditions at children's holiday camps after five children and their teacher drowned while swimming off its southern coast.

Five children aged 10 to 15, who were attending a holiday camp, were swept away by currents and drowned while swimming in the Sea of Azov in the Krasnodar region of southern Russia, the local branch of the emergencies ministry said.

Their teacher also drowned while tried to rescue the children, it added. A boy, aged eight, was listed as missing.

"The president has ordered prosecutor general Yury Chaika to check the organisation of children's holidays and the observance of security rules," Medvedev's spokeswoman Natalya Timakova said in a statement to news agencies.

She said the probe would apply to the Azov Camp where the children were holidaying as well as other holiday camps in the Krasnodar Region.

A criminal investigation has been opened into causing death by negligence, the investigative committee of Russian prosecutors 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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