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Search continues for missing Russian divers in Egypt


MOSCOW, November 23 (RIA Novosti) - A total of 11 vessels are involved in the search for three Russian divers, who went missing on Wednesday while diving at the Elphinstone Reef in Egypt's Red Sea, Russia's honorary consul in Egypt said Friday.

"Helicopters are also taking part in the search," he said, adding that the rescue operation is being hampered by poor weather - strong winds and waves.

Three divers from Barnaul in Southern Siberia - Vladimir Bukhmiller, Sergei Gurba and Natalia Doronina - planned to dive at the Elphinstone Reef and according to a fourth member of the group, planned to dive to a depth of 90 meters (295 feet). Diving deeper than 40 meters (131 feet) is not permitted in Egypt.

Irina Tyurina of the Russian Union of Travel Industry said the incident was rare, as 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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