Record Drownings In Russia

It doesnÂ't take much to make a heat wave in Moscow, but this summer the city has been hot by anyoneÂ's measure. Temperatures in June were the highest in 25 years.

To cool off, Muscovites strip down and take to the water, reports CBS News Correspondent David Hawkins. Almost any water will do, but if they can get away, most head to the beach.

In the city, that usually means the Moscow River. With all the pollution in a river lined with factories, that would be risky enough. But the most dangerous thing in the river isnÂ't industrial waste: ItÂ's the Russians themselves.

So far this summer, more than 150 people have drowned in Moscow alone. ThatÂ's about five a day -- and today is not likely to be any different.

Blame the usual suspects: Too much alcohol and not enough money.

Drinking and diving accounts for most drownings. About half of the victims are inebriated men.

Most of the rest are children. Swimming lessons, once a Soviet summer camp requirement, are now just too expensive. Adding to the danger, lifeguards at public beaches are few and far between.

No one is keeping track of the number of victims nationwide, but the drowning death rate in Russia is about five times as high as in the United States.

The weather forecast for the weeks to come? More of the same. So no one expects the alarming number of drownings to drop any time soon, at least not until the temperature does.