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55 dead, and 26 more 'poisoned': the toll of fake alcohol outbreak

By The Siberian Times reporter
20 December 2016

13 more have little or no chance of survival, says health chief warning of more fatalities.

'Such a heavy condition is because they came to doctors too late and received a large dose of the surrogate (alcohol).' Picture: Vesti.Irkutsk

The poisoning after drinking bath lotion or bath oil, masquerading as a safe alcoholic drink called Hawthorn, is now the worst such case in modern Russian history. 

With 55 dead, Irkutsk region health minister Oleg Yaroshenko said that almost half of those who are still alive have almost no chances of survival. 13 are in a very hard condition and the chances of survival are practically nil,' he said. 

'Such a heavy condition is because they came to doctors too late and received a large dose of the surrogate (alcohol). Only a miracle  can save them.'

Victim Alexei speaks


Victims in hospital

'I called to ambulance, and they brought me to  hospital. Here I found out what is going on in the city.' Picture: Vesti.Irkutsk, KP

Some 7 people have been detained in connection with the poisoning. In addition to the dodgy bath lotion, black marketeers behind the poisonous alcohol were producing several brands of vodka. 

People aged 25 to 62 were stuck down by the poisoning. Almost half are women. The victims included a doctor and a kindergarten teacher, while 24 bodies were found in homes - people who had no time to call an ambulance. 

Survivor Alexei, 33, said: 'I met with my old friends, and we decided to drink a bit. My mates bought vodka, I do not remember the label. The taste seemed to me strange, bitter. I drank only one shot and then went home. 

Fake vodka


Warehouse of fake alcohol


Warehouse of fake alcohol

In addition to the dodgy bath lotion, black marketeers behind the poisonous alcohol were producing several brands of vodka. Pictures: Channel 1, Life

'We had a supper, then I played with my child and went to sleep. In the morning I was blind. I could not even see what is in my cell-phone. I wanted to get up, but my legs did not obey. I'm a doctor by education, so I quickly understood that I had been poisoned. 

'I called to ambulance, and they brought me to  hospital. Here I found out what is going on in the city. Hope these bastards will be found!' 

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