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8 Jul, 2010 09:49

Six kids drown in summer camp death trap

Six kids drown in summer camp death trap

Six children and a counselor from a summer camp on the Sea of Azov have drowned after a current drew them into the deep. Prosecutors suspect professional negligence on the part of the organizers.

The tragedy happened on Wednesday during a trip to a small island located some 10 kilometers off shore near the resort city of Yeysk in Southern Russia. A group of 58 campers and seven counselors went for a naval excursion, which included landing and dipping into the sea.

The island, however, was not authorized for such activities as a normal beach would. Indeed, locals have referred to the place as a death trap due to the uneven sea bed and strong currents. Some of the children were captured by a riptide and drawn into the sea. One of the adults tried to help, but was caught himself. He and six children aged between 8 and 16 died.

Several girls were saved by a boy who happened to be a strong swimmer, his mother told Russian tabloid website Life News. He managed to escape the deadly current and dragged his friends along. Meanwhile, the captain of a nearby boat told RIA Novosti that he managed to rescue three people.

A nine-year-old boy was taken to hospital because he suffered from swallowing and inhaling a lot of water, while another one got ill from heat stroke. A third child developed throat and ear inflammation and needed medical help as well.

A criminal case of neglect resulting in several deaths has been launched following the tragedy. Prosecutors suspect that the counselors may have been drinking alcohol during the trip, since traces of it have been found in their blood.

The camp has a good reputation, parents told the media, and even had difficulties meeting the demand. The children were mostly drawn from a single school in Moscow, while their regular teachers acted as counselors.

Following the tragedy, some parents urgently took their children home. All the rest will be returned to Moscow by Sunday, accompanied by psychologists.