Local news publications in the area say 18-year-old Alexandra Vernigora and her 27-year-old boyfriend Stanislav Bogdanovich – both top chess players – were discovered deceased inside their home this week. Balloons containing the gas nitrous oxide – more commonly known as laughing gas – were reportedly found at the scene.
Russian authorities investigating the deaths have determined there were no signs of foul play.
According to the NHS, when inhaled, nitrous oxide can make people feel euphoric and relaxed. However, it also has a risk of death, as lack of oxygen can occur when inhaling the gas. “This risk is likely to be greater if the gas is consumed in an enclosed space or if a substantial amount is rapidly used,” the health service warns.