Siberian methanol poisoning death toll rises to 74

An ambulance outside Clinical Hospital No.3 in the city of Irkutsk.

An ambulance outside Clinical Hospital No.3 in the city of Irkutsk.

Kirill Shipitsin/TASS
A total of 31 residents of Irkutsk remain in hospitals

The number of people who died after drinking a bath lotion containing methanol has risen to 74 in Russia's Siberian city of Irkutsk, the regional health ministry’s press service told TASS on Dec. 23.

"We have information about 74 deaths from poisoning in the period since December 17, the total number of victims is 122. A total of 31 residents of Irkutsk remain in hospitals," the press service said. Previous reports put the death toll at 72.

A criminal case has been opened into the sale of goods failing to meet safety requirements and resulting in the death of two or more people. A total of 13 people have been detained as part of the ongoing investigation.

Two of the suspects were placed under house arrest, eight were remanded in custody. One person was released. The court will decide on pretrial restriction measures for the remaining two suspects on Saturday.

A ban on sales of all nonfood alcohol-containing products has been imposed in Irkutsk and in the region. The ban will stay in place as long as checks continue at local stores as to whether they have on sale the lethal bath lotion called Boyaryshnik and similar products.

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