PETROZAVODSK, June 15. /TASS/. Tourists from Moscow who died in the explosion of a World War Two mine in Karelia, a region in northwestern Russia, put it into the fire themselves, spokesman for the regional department of the Russian Investigative Committee Vitaly Konovalov told TASS.
According to Karelia’s interior Ministry, on June 12 at around 23:00 Moscow Time (20:00 GMT) an explosion occurred near the village Kushevanda, killing two tourists from Moscow. One more tourist died in hospital. Two other people were injured.
"A group of seven people was near the fire. One of them put the mine, which presumably dates back to World War Two, into the fire to extract the explosive substance from it. Then an explosion occurred," Konovalov said, adding that the tourists had found the mine in the forest.
Between 500 and 600 mines, grenades and other munitions are found and deactivated annually in Karelia’s Loukhi region where the tourists died, a source in the mine clearance department of the republican search and rescue service told TASS. This figure is higher than in most regions of Russia.
A total of 233 explosion-prone objects of the World War Two era have been found in Karelia since the beginning of this year.