Murat Berekeshov and his wife Aislu died five hours apart after drinking the wrong alcohol to celebrate getting new furniture for their family home in Orsk, Russia
Five young children were orphaned after their parents were among 24 people who died from drinking bootleg vodka.
Murat Berekeshov, 41, and his wife Aislu, 39, drank the fake alcohol to celebrate the assembly of new furniture for their family home in Orsk, Russia.
Aislu fell ill and had to be hospitalized after taking a few swallows of the poisonous ouch, which prompted Murat to call his sister and ask her to look after her children.
But shortly afterwards, Murat, a security officer, also fell ill and had to be hospitalized.
The couple died in the hospital five hours apart.
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Other victims are the pensioners Aleksandr Sirotinin (68), Dmitry Karelin (40) and Zhan Nurmakanov (36), both unemployed, who all died.
The death toll from the counterfeit alcohol, which contains highly toxic methanol, is currently 24, and another 20 victims are in hospital, including 42-year-old Dmitry Granchenko.
There are also victims who are sick at home.
Methanol is a toxic alcohol that is used industrially as a solvent, pesticide, or source of fuel.
A local official said the concentration of methanol in the body was “3-5 times higher than a lethal dose”.
A vendor of the deadly drink Ildar Suyunshalinov said, “I bought the alcohol from the Orsk wholesale base.
“I didn’t know it was fatal.”
Police said it was a “miracle” that the bootleg liquor stopped being sold, resulting in more deaths.
The dead were between 36 and 72 years old, it said.
Some of the dead were found in vehicles trying to reach hospitals after buying the alcohol, the labels of which suggested it was a Siberian vodka.
Extensive investigations have been launched against two men aged 60 and 28 and a 47-year-old woman.
It was later reported that two other men and one woman were detained in connection with the poisoning.
More than 1,000 bottles were confiscated, although the counterfeit alcohol is visibly indistinguishable from normal alcohol.
“More than 3,000 empty plastic bottles and devices for the production, storage, filling and subsequent packaging of alcohol-containing products in large quantities were confiscated,” said a report by the law enforcement authorities.
The fatalities are less than a year since seven people died in Russia’s Far Eastern Republic of Yakutia in November after consuming diluted hand sanitizer.
Consumption of spirits and household products containing alcohol is widespread in poorer regions of Russia and is blamed for a large number of alcohol-related deaths.
The governor of the region, Denis Pasler, urged the local population to refrain from buying alcohol.