Alcohol poisoning death toll in Russia rises to 53
MOSCOW, Dec. 20 (PNA/Xinhua) -- The death toll from alcohol poisoning in the east Siberian city of Irkutsk has risen to 53, and 26 people are still hospitalized, the Russian news agency TASS reported Tuesday.
The victims consumed a bath lotion which local officials later found to contain deadly levels of methanol and antifreeze. Police have found an underground facility that made the counterfeit lotion, and seized 500 liters of the substance at about 100 shops in Irkutsk.
President Vladimir Putin's spokesman Dmitry Peskov described the mass poisoning as a terrible tragedy on Monday, adding that the president was being briefed about the situation.
Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev told a Cabinet meeting on Monday that authorities need to deal with the illegal turnover of such substances with alcohol content and quickly ban it.
On Monday, Russian media reported that 21 people had died of alcohol poisoning in Irkutsk. All of them got poisoned after consuming the bath lotion marked with the warning that it is not for drinking.
Poisonings caused by surrogate alcohol are often seen in Russia, but the case in Irkutsk is the deadliest in years. (PNA/Xinhua)