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22 Nov, 2007 12:41

Russian deep-sea divers missing in Egypt

The search for three Russian divers who failed to resurface in the Red Sea has been suspended for the night. The rescue operation will resume at daylight.

The three divers, two men and a woman, failed to return to their boat after attempting a 90-metre deep dive near Elphinstone reef.

Worsening weather conditions and strong currents have been hampering the efforts.

Diving specialists say the divers were equipped with only one oxygen tank each, which is not enough for these kinds of depths.

Tour manager Pavel Shipilin, whose company organised the holiday, said the divers decided to go to 90 metres at their own risk.

“One of them was a diving instructor and he would have known this. Safety rules were ignored, including the Egyptian law that forbids divers from diving deeper than 40 metres,” Shipilin said.

“They went diving without telling the guides accompanying them – otherwise they wouldn't have been allowed to do so,” he added.

Bashir Malsagov from the Russian Embassy in Cairo agreed that violation of safety rules was the main cause of the incident.

“Our divers ignore existing safety regulations. They don’t stick to them. Often they themselves are to blame for what happens to them,” Malsagov said.

Russia's Foreign Ministry has sent two diplomats to Egypt to look into the incident.