Don’t Do Potatoes

Russian girl, 8, orphaned after her ENTIRE family is wiped out by deadly gas caused by rotting potatoes in the cellar

  • Maria Chelsyheva lost her father, mother, brother and grandmother within minutes of each other going down into the cellar at the family home
  • Police say they were poisoned by toxic fumes from rotten potatoes
  • Eight-year-old, from Laishevo, near Kazan, said to be ‘inconsolable’

By Will Stewart for MailOnline

Devastating: Maria Chelysheva, eight, is said to be 'inconsolable' after losing her entire family who were all overcome by rotten potato fumes

Devastating: Maria Chelysheva, eight, is said to be ‘inconsolable’ after losing her entire family who were all overcome by rotten potato fumes

An eight-year-old Russian girl has been orphaned after her entire family was wiped out by deadly gas caused from rotting potatoes.

Grief-stricken Maria Chelysheva lost her father, mother, brother and grandmother who were killed one by one after entering a cellar where they stored potatoes for the winter. 

Relatives are caring for the girl who is inconsolable over her loss.

Her father, respected law professor Mikhail Chelyshev, 42, was first to enter the cellar, not realising the potatoes had become seriously rotten. 

He fainted from the noxious fumes, and soon afterwards died, say police. 

When he failed to re-appear, his worried wife Anastasia, 38, went to look for him in the dark and was also overcome by the poisonous gas.

Next the couple’s 18 year old son Georgy went in search of his parents, only to suffer the same tragic fate as his mother and father after inhaling the highly toxic fumes.

Anastasia’s mother Iraida, 68, called a neighbour to say there was something suspicious and to plead for help. 

But before assistance arrived, she also went into the cellar, suffocated from the gas, and collapsed and died like the others, say police. 

It is understood that as she went in, she left the door open, allowing the fumes to disperse.

Victims: Father Mikhail Chelyshev, 42, brother Georgy Chelyshev, 18, and mother Anastasia Chelysheva, 38, died in the cellar when one by one they went to investigate

Maria has been left orphaned by the tragic freak disaster, which took place at the family home

Maria’s grandmother, Iraida, 63, went to investigate the problem in the cellar after both parents and brother Georgy Chelyshev, 18, right, also never returned. She also died

When Maria entered the cellar, she found the bodies of her whole family on the cellar floor. 

The shocking case was at Laishevo, a town near Kazan, in the Russian republic of Tatarstan on the Volga River. 

‘They all died of gas poisoning which has accumulated in the basement as a result of badly rotting potatoes,’ said a local investigator.  

Georgy Chelyshev, 18, left, and his father, respected law professor Mikhail Chelyshev, 42, right were two of four of Maria’s family relatives who were killed by the toxic potato fumes, according to police

‘The poor girl  found the bodies of the deceased.’

Relatives and friends are appealing for cash to support the girl.

A memorial service for Professor Chelyshev was held in the marble hall of  Kazan Federal University, where he was head of the department of civil and business law.


Potatoes contain toxic compounds known as glycoalkaloids, of which the most prevalent are solanine and chaconine. 

Solanine is also found in other plants in the family Solanaceae, which includes such plants as the deadly nightshade (Atropa belladonna), henbane (Hyoscyamus niger) and tobacco (Nicotiana) as well as the potato, eggplant, and tomato. 

This toxin affects the nervous system, causing weakness and confusion.

These compounds are generally concentrated in its leaves, stems, sprouts, and fruits.

Exposure to light, physical damage, and age increase glycoalkaloid content within the tuber; the highest concentrations occur just underneath the skin.

Cooking partly destroys them. The concentration of glycoalkaloid in wild potatoes suffices to produce toxic effects in humans.

Glycoalkaloids may cause headaches, diarrhea, cramps, and in severe cases coma and death; however, poisoning from potatoes occurs very rarely.

The U.S. National Toxicology Program suggests that the average American consumes at most 12.5 mg/day of solanine from potatoes (the toxic dose is several times this, depending on body weight).–orphaned-ENTIRE-family-wiped-deadly-gas-caused-rotting-potatoes-cellar.html

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