Police probe deaths of three Russians in Indonesia

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Police are investigating after three Russian military aircraft specialists died in Indonesia following a drinking session, officials said Tuesday.

The trio were part of a 12-man team who arrived last week in Makassar, the provincial capital of South Sulawesi, last week to help the Indonesian air force assemble and operate recently-purchased Sukhoi fighter jets, police said.

One of the three was found dead on Monday in an air force dormitory, local police chief Jhony Waenal Usman said, with the other two dying later that day in hospital.

Police didn't specify their jobs but the Voice of Russia said that they worked as engineers.

Usman said post mortem examination results were still awaited but the victims all showed similar symptoms before they died.

"They suffered from dizziness, nausea, breathing difficulties and were foaming from their mouths," he told reporters.

"Our forensic team is also investigating the evidence such as the leftover drink and medicines belonging to the victims."

Local news website Detikcom quoted an air force spokesman as saying that the men were killed from drinking alcohol and it may have been contaminated.

Twenty-five people including four foreigners died after drinking methanol-laced palm wine last year on the Indonesian resort island of Bali, while 13 were killed in similar fashion in Central Java earlier this year.

A Russian jet was expected to arrive Wednesday to take the bodies back home, added Usman.

© 2010 AFP

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