Four separate deaths of young female tourists in Turkey - three of them in swimming pools - are to be probed by Russia’s top criminal investigation body.
The fourth case involves shocking allegations made by the parents of the deceased that human organs were stolen from 16-year-old child model Sofiya Lanshakova after she died from suspected peritonitis - claims which are strongly denied by hospitals where she was treated.
The head of the Russian Investigative Committee Alexander Bastrykin has ordered probes into whether the pool tragedies involved a lack of life guard supervision, and suspected “negligence” in Sofiya’s death.
In a seperate death, high-flying student Desyatova, 19, died recently after getting into trouble while snorkelling at popular Sealanya Sea Park in Alanya, a resort town on Turkey’s central Mediterranean coast.
She had been in a coma for 12 days following the accident in which she was dragged from a pool by other tourists.
Olga, a second year student at Moscow’s prestigious Higher School of Economics, was flown home and admitted to a top Russian hospital but she failed to respond to treatment.
CCTV of the pool incident has been “destroyed”, say reports which also claimed there were no lifeguards nearby.
On Tuesday (local time) a five-year-old girl named Lyubov drowned on the first day of her holiday while in the pool at her hotel in Antalya.
Her mother Anastasia said the girl was found in the water at five star Maya World Beach Hotel Alanya - without her inflatable ring which she always used.
“There were no lifeguards next to the pool,” she said. Her mother and grandmother were nearby but had not seen her go back onto a slide.
These pool deaths follow the widely-reported horrific drowning of Alisa Adamova, 12, whose arm was sucked into an underwater pumping device at a hotel pool in Bodrum.
With hotel staff “doing nothing”, seven tourists wrestled her free from the device, but it took them more than 15 minutes.
Although she started breathing again, she went into a coma and died 11 days later.
Deaths spark government probe
Alexander Bastrykin, a university classmate of Vladimir Putin, ordered investigations to seemingly get to the bottom of the strange deaths of Russian tourists in the country.
With Alisa a criminal case will examine whether there was “provision of services that do not meet safety requirements”.
He ordered investigators to urgently check the causes of death of both Olga Desyatova and Lyubov.
On Sofiya Lanshakova he opened a criminal case into “causing death through negligence due to improper performance by a person of his professional duties”.
She died in excruciating pain on a family holiday in Antalya province. Her parents later alleged she was wilfully killed to obtain and sell her organs.
The Russian authorities - who have examined her corpse - say her womb and unspecified other organs were missing from her remains, it was reported.
They “recorded the absence of some organs, including the uterus”, alleged her father Vyacheslav Lanshakov, 38, citing forensic tests on her body in Russia.
But no further details were given.
This allegations were strongly denied by Turkish medics who treated her.
The girl had been admitted in an “extremely grave condition” and “it was impossible to save her”, said one.
Do you have a story tip? Email: firstname.lastname@example.org.