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Strange 'Drug' Kills 3 Russians in Indonesia

Three Russian technicians who were in Indonesia to assemble fighter jets bought from Russia have died after suddenly falling ill, officials said Tuesday.

The men, identified as Sergei Voronin, Alexander Poltorak and Viktor Safonov, were part of a team of 12 engineers who arrived in the city of Makassar on the island of Sulawesi last week to work on Indonesia's Sukhoi fighter jet program.

Rear Marshal Agus Supriatna, a commander at Hasanuddin Air Base on Sulawesi, said two men were found in critical condition at the base's guesthouse on Monday and died shortly after being rushed to the hospital.

Hours later, a third technician died after complaining of breathing problems, dizziness and vomiting. The death was caused by an unidentified drug, local police spokesman Iskandar Khanan said in televised remarks, Interfax reported. He did not elaborate.

Foul play was not suspected, Russian Embassy official Vladimir Pronin said, The Jakarta Globe newspaper reported.

The men could have been poisoned by moonshine alcohol, Gazeta.ru reported, citing an unidentified aviation expert who pointed out that legal alcohol is hard to obtain in the mostly Islamic Indonesia.

The Indonesian government has bought six Sukhoi fighter jets as part of a $300 million contract with Russia.

(AP, MT)

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