KEY POINTS

  • Four Russian tourists were found dead in the sauna of a five-star hotel in Tirana
  • Police and prosecutors believe the family may have been murdered in the facility
  • There are claims that the chlorine in a pool could have led to the deaths of the four

A Russian family of four was found dead in the sauna of a luxury hotel located near the Albanian capital of Tirana last week, police said.

The bodies of the four tourists, identified as Sergey Burenkov, 60, his wife Natalya Burenkova, 58, the couple's daughter Katya, 31 and her partner Nikita Belousov, 37, were discovered at the Gloria Palace Hotel in Qerret at around 10:20 p.m. last Friday, 7News.com.au reported.

A staff member of the five-star hotel discovered the bodies an hour after the family checked in when he was delivering their food order, as per The New York Post.

"I shouted several times that the drinks and the fruit were ready. No one answered, so I walked inside the sauna and saw them all. One person was lying on a sunbed; two were on the sauna benches. The last one was sitting down with his legs in the pool," the worker was quoted as saying by the newspaper.

Albanian authorities reportedly confirmed that the four tourists died of asphyxia. They died within minutes of each other shortly after entering the sauna, according to the 7News.com.au report.

Police investigating the deaths have suggested that the family may have been murdered, but no further details regarding the claim have been disclosed.

Additionally, there were allegedly suspicions among prosecutors that the case involved murder, but it was still too early to arrive at a conclusion as to how it was committed.

Authorities are now investigating whether the ventilation system in the sauna was faulty. However, no fault was found with the sauna or its ventilation system.

The Russian embassy in Tirana reportedly dismissed claims that the chlorine in a pool could have caused the deaths. Other claims suggested alcohol poisoning may have been the cause of the deaths, but they too were rejected since there's information that the family members did not drink.

The hotel's entire staff was questioned following the incident.

"We are all shocked by the case in question," a spokesman was quoted as saying by News.com.au.

"The situation and the causes are unclear. We are waiting for the expertise and forensic report," the spokesman added.

Tourism has become a major industry in Albania, a Western Balkan country with 300 miles of coastline, according to The Washington Post.

police-line-3953745_1920 Representation. Police are still investigating the deaths of four Russian tourists, who were found asphxiated in a five-star hotel in Albania. Photo: Pixabay