Man dies in horrific Zorb accident

England cricketer Andrew Flintoff running inside a zorb as he attempts to break the fastest 100m zorbing world record in North London. (AFP)

Russia has launched an investigation into the death of a 27-year-old man in an inflatable "zorb" ball that tumbled down a mountainside in a horrific accident that was caught on video, a spokesman said Wednesday.

Denis Burakov, 27, died of his injuries after he and a friend, Vladimir Shcherbov, 33, paid to roll in the zorb down an unfenced snow slope at a ski resort in the Karachayevo-Cherkessia region of the North Caucasus.

"We have launched a criminal case into causing death through providing unsafe services," said Sergei Shuvayev, spokesman for the regional investigative committee. The charge carries a maximum prison sentence of six years.

The zorb veered off a snowy track and rolled into a gorge, continuing for around a kilometre before stopping on a frozen lake, investigators said. The accident occurred on January 3.

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