Alcohol poisoning deaths in Russia rise to 53

Moscow, Dec 20 (IANS) The deaths from alcohol poisoning in Russia’s Siberian city of Irkutsk have risen to 53, and 26 persons are still hospitalised, media reported on Tuesday.

The victims consumed a bath lotion which officials later found contained deadly levels of methanol and anti-freeze. An underground facility was also found that made the counterfeit lotion, and seized 500 litres of the substance at about 100 shops in Irkutsk, in Siberia, Xinhua news agency reported.

President Vladimir Putin’s spokesman Dmitry Peskov on Monday described the mass poisoning as a terrible tragedy, and added that President Vladimir Putin was being briefed about the situation.

Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev told a cabinet meeting on Monday that authorities need to deal with illegal turnover of such substances with alcohol content and quickly ban it.

Cases of poisoning caused by surrogate alcohol are often seen in Russia, but the case in Irkutsk is the deadliest in years.