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Egyptian diving center refutes blame for missing Russians

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CAIRO, December 10 (RIA Novosti) - The owner and employees of a diving center in Egypt which organized an underwater excursion for Russian and Dutch tourists are not to blame for their disappearance, Egyptian state news agency MENA said Wednesday.

On January 6, one Dutch and three Russian tourists went diving with an Egyptian instructor in the Red Sea resort of Marsa Alam. The divers swam to a depth of 50 meters when the instructor warned them of sharks, and told them to surface. None of the five returned to their vessel, and a search began.

Several hours later, one of the Russian divers, Alexander Lukyanchenko, was found alive 15 km from the site, and was later hospitalized. He said he had swum away from the area after the warning, but did not know what had happened to the other divers.

A local prosecutor, who questioned employees of the Beach Safari diving center and the captain of the vessel that carried the tourists out to sea, and examined reports of the special commission investigating the incident, said the staff were not guilty, and should be released.

An inspection showed that the diving center had all necessary licenses, and that its equipment was in good condition, he said.

"Bad weather conditions, large waves, and the fact that the current swept the tourists away from the vessel were the main causes of the accident," the prosecutor said in his ruling.

Questioning of the surviving diver also showed that the vessel had been powerless to help the divers.

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