Mass alcohol poisoning kills two Russians in Turkey

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A mass outbreak of alcohol poisoning among a group of Russian tour guides in Turkey has left two people dead and another 30 in hospital, health officials said.

The victims were among a group of 120 Russian guides, who were on a yachting trip near the resort town of Bodrum last Friday before they fell ill, according to the mass circulation Hurriyet daily.

One of the fatalities who died on Monday was named in the Turkish press as 28-year-old Maria Shalyapina while her 22-year-old colleague Zalyaeva Auiliaalyeva died on Tuesday.

Of the 30 other victims who were admitted to hospital, 14 are said to be in a critical condition.

"What is certain is that patients came to our hospital with excessive amount of alcohol in their blood," Abdullah Erdogan, the chief physician of the local hospital, was quoted as saying by the Anatolia news agency.

The patients were being treated for alcohol intoxication, but more tests were needed to determine whether they had drunk bootleg alcohol or not, Erdogan added.

Police have taken samples from the food and drink that were consumed on the yacht while victims' blood samples have been sent to a forensics laboratory.

The yacht has also been banned from sailing as the investigation continues, Anatolia reported.

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

© 2011 AFP

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