Support The Moscow Times!

Borneo Brew Kills 4 Sailors and Sickens 3 Others

JAKARTA, Indonesia — Four crew members of a Russian ship anchored off Borneo island died and three others are seriously ill after drinking homemade Indonesian alcohol, police said Friday.

Central Kalimantan police spokesman Edi Ciptianto said authorities were searching for a local man they believe sold liquor mixed with a homemade brew.

Three men were found dead on the ship, the Captain Kurbatsky, on Thursday, Ciptianto said.

Four other crew members suffered from breathing problems, dizziness and vomiting after drinking the liquor and were rushed to a hospital, he said. One, a woman, died shortly after arriving at the hospital.

Ciptianto said experts were carrying out tests on the alcohol.

"We are still investigating the cause of their death and plan autopsies," he said.

The Captain Kurbatsky, with a 24-member crew, is in Indonesian waters to take on a cargo of iron ore from a port near the Borneo city of Banjarmasin.

Late last year, three Russian engineers who were in Indonesia to assemble fighter jets bought from Russia died at an air force base after suddenly falling ill. Autopsies found they had consumed rubbing alcohol, which is usually used as a disinfectant, local media reported.

Read more

Independent journalism isn’t dead. You can help keep it alive.

As the only remaining independent, English-language news source reporting from Russia, The Moscow Times plays a critical role in connecting Russia to the world.

Editorial decisions are made entirely by journalists in our newsroom, who adhere to the highest ethical standards. We fearlessly cover issues that are often considered off-limits or taboo in Russia, from domestic violence and LGBT issues to the climate crisis and a secretive nuclear blast that exposed unknowing doctors to radiation.

Please consider making a one-time donation — or better still a recurring donation — to The Moscow Times to help us continue producing vital, high-quality journalism about the world's largest country.