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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

Tourists Stranded in Plague-Hit India

A disagreement between the Russian State Sanitary Control Department and Aeroflot has left 263 Russian tourists in limbo in India as they await evacuation flights following a recent outbreak of pneumonic plague.


Although most major airlines have resumed flying to India since the plague outbreak last month that killed at least 50 people, Aeroflot has not.


Its pilots are refusing to fly charter planes there to pick up the stranded Russians, Lyudmila Sedyakina, a spokeswoman for the company, said Friday.


"This is quite understandable. We are all human beings and plague is not a light cold," she said.


However, Marina Vedischeva of the State Sanitary Control Committee said that the airline had agreed to send three charter flights on the weekend to pick up people, using specially vaccinated crews.


"Our people should not be there any longer. They are exposed to a great risk of contracting plague," she said.


Further confusing the picture, the travel agency Orion said it has arranged for other charter flights to evacuate about 70 travelers.


"I hope all people will be here on Saturday," Mikhail Vakhitov of Orion said. He said, "The people are on the verge of despair."


One Aeroflot charter last week evacuated Russian embassy officials and contract workers in India but left behind the others. The evacuees were quarantined for six days on the outskirts of Moscow. Twenty-one remain incarcerated at Hospital No. 10.