SOCHI, September 1 (RIA Novosti) - More than 4,000 exotic tropical fish have died at an airport in the Russian Black Sea resort town of Sochi, the head of the oceanarium where they were heading said on Tuesday.
"The 18-ton cargo, containing over 4,000 exotic fish from China, was standing at Customs at Sochi Airport for more than 14 hours in quite hot weather," Amin Azzam said, adding that almost all the fish, worth a total of $480,000, were dead by the time the containers were opened.
According to Azzam, the plane carrying the fish from China made a 40-minute stop at Delhi Airport on its way to Sochi. The cargo arrived in Sochi at 8.30 a.m. [04:30 GMT] on August 29, but was only checked by Customs officials some seven hours later.
Customs officials have not commented on the incident.
Azzam said he had never seen "living creatures to be tormented in such a way," adding it was "inhumane" to keep the fish at Customs for so many hours, and that all the documents for them were in good order.
The Sochi Discovery World oceanarium was scheduled to open during the VIII International Investment Forum Sochi-2009, which runs from August 17 to September 11.
Sochi is the host city for the 2014 Winter Olympics.