Concern grows for missing Russian teenagers

Two teenage girls have been missing for almost a week in Russia's Urals region. Rescue teams, helped by two helicopters, have been searching for them in the dense forests of the Sverdlovsk region.

The girls were visiting the area with other tourists from Moscow. They may have got lost while on an expedition and were equipped with a compass, map and biscuits.

Authorities say there is hope of finding them alive and well. The girls had been given survival training and had discussed the route with a group leader.

“We were in the camp. We just came back from the trip. The girls were going to be back as soon as possible. They planned the route and discussed that with the leader. We waited for them till early in the morning, and then the search began. We all knew about the details of the route,” Ludmila Nemchenko, a tourist, said.

The local Prosecutor's Office says it is investigating whether the incident is a result of negligence by the expedition leader.

“We are doing everything to find the children as soon as possible and bring them to their parents. The Prosecutor's Office has also given instruction about the leader of the group.  We need to know if he had permission to take the group of school girls to a forest if he doesn't have the permission, it is a crime,” Yury Ponomarev, a prosecutor.