Federal agents have reportedly designated Russian national surfing team member Maya Rudik as a victim in the felony investigation into the pollution of Avacha Bay on Kamchatka’s shores. Rudik’s lawyers told the news agency RBC that she was diagnosed with a chemical burn on her cornea by doctors in Kamchatka and in Moscow.
Russia’s Federal Investigative Committee hasn’t yet commented on Rudik’s status in the case.
Surfers were the first to report pollution in Avacha Bay in early September, complaining of burning and stinging in their eyes after contact with the water.
Scientists say the contaminated water has killed roughly 95 percent of all marine life along Kamchatka’s shores. Greenpeace has called the incident an ecological disaster. There is no consensus about what caused the water to change, but some experts are increasingly convinced that an abnormally active algal bloom, known as a “red tide,” is the culprit. Researchers from the Far Eastern Federal University recently reached this conclusion after visiting the area and finding no evidence of a toxic leak from local landfills, or a fuel spill, or pollution due to seismic activity.