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Egyptian authorities have called off the search for three Russian divers
Egyptian authorities have called off the search for three Russian divers who went missing on November 22 after diving at the Elphinstone Reef in Egypt's Red Sea, Russia's honorary consul said.

Three divers from Barnaul in southern Siberia planned to dive to a depth of 90 meters (295 feet), which is prohibited. The alarm was raised after they failed to surface. A search has been conducted, but there has been no trace of the Russians.

"The search is now being conducted by private companies and tourist vessels," he said, adding that the Russian consulate is trying to persuade the Egyptian authorities to resume the rescue operation, which usually only last three or four days.

On Sunday, a local diving association published the results of its investigation. According to the report, the divers violated safety instructions, including those prohibiting diving deeper than 40 meters (131 feet). The organizers of the dive, who followed procedures, were not held responsible for the actions of the Russians.

Irina Tyurina of the Russian Union of Travel Industry said earlier that the three Russians were highly skilled divers, who decided to set a record by diving to a depth of 90 meters using an ordinary air mixture.

"This causes the so called 'rapture of the deep', or nitrogen narcosis - an alteration in consciousness similar to drug intoxication" she said.

In January, one Dutch and three Russian tourists went missing after diving to a depth of 50 meters (164 feet) with an Egyptian instructor in the Red Sea resort of Marsa Alam. Following a search, one of the Russian divers, Alexander Lukyanchenko, was found alive 15 km (over 9 miles) from the site, and was later hospitalized. He said he did not know what had happened to the other divers.


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