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Hundreds drown during Russian heatwave

By Moscow correspondent Norman Hermant

Updated July 5, 2010 22:17:00

Many Russians spend the brief summer taking dips in ponds and rivers

Many Russians spend the brief summer taking dips in ponds and rivers (Flickr: k.ivoutin, file photo (CC-BY))

Russia's emergency ministry says nearly 300 people drowned in the country last week trying to beat high temperatures.

At least 285 people drowned in waterways across Russia as temperatures topped a record-breaking 37 degrees in some regions.

Authorities say 63 people died in one day alone as they swam in rivers, lakes and reservoirs.

A government official says many of those who drowned were drunk.

Others swam in areas that are dangerous with murky water and strong currents.

High death tolls from drowning are common in the brief Russian summer.

Many swimmers ignore warning signs and enter the water after drinking heavily.

Last year it is believed more than 3,000 people drowned while swimming in Russia.

Tags: accidents, weather, russian-federation

First posted July 5, 2010 22:00:00

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