Seventeen out of 33 people on Friday died from alcohol poisoning after consuming adulterated alcohol illegally sold in the Orenburg region of Russia.
Authorities said those affected came from several villages in the Ural region, located 1,200 kilometres southeast of Russia’s capital of Moscow, with the region’s governor Denis Pasler asking residents to refrain from buying alcohol.
Shops selling alcohol have been inspected and unsafe drinks removed from circulation. According to the authorities, more than 1,000 bottles have been confiscated, although the alcohol in question is visibly indistinguishable from normal alcohol.
“Until the results are finalised, drinking alcohol can be life-threatening,” the governor warned.
Investigators had already arrested three suspects, among them a 29-year-old man who is said to have organised illegal production in the city of Orsk, where police believe they have located the building where the deadly drinks were made.
The other two arrests were made in connection with the sale of the deadly alcohol.
Authorities said pure methanol was found in the bodies of the dead, stating that “In some cases, the concentration of the substance was found to be three to five times higher than the lethal dose.”