Hawthorn kills // 33 people die after drinking bath lotion with methanol in Irkutsk
At least 33 people have died from poisoning after consuming a bath lotion containing alcohol in the Siberian city of Irkutsk, Russia’s top investigative agency says.
A total of 54 people have been hospitalized, with some in a coma.
The injured and dead appear to be residents of the same area in Irkutsk and, according to officials, they were not drinking alcohol together, and are socially disadvantaged people aged 35 to 50. The Investigative Committee said that this bath lotion was available at about 100 outlets in Irkutsk.
Methanol (also known as methyl alcohol), a light, colorless, flammable liquid, has been detected in the composition of Boyaryshnik (Hawthorn) bath lotion. The lotion bottles were marked with warnings that they are not for internal use.
Two suspects believed to be directly involved in the distribution of the surrogate alcohol have been detained.
The Prime Minister of Russia Dmitry Medvedev called the problem with the turnover of alcohol-containing substances in Russia heavy. The Prime Minister instructed the government to deal with trafficking liquids that contain alcohol in Russia, saying that it has turned into a business. He also drew attention that such liquids are sold just in the room, and called it a "mess" by giving the order to prohibit such sales.
Although poisonings with surrogate alcohol are not uncommon in Russia, the Irkutsk incident appears to be one of the most fatal in years.