A macabre find was made in a city in south-east Russia: Twenty-seven pairs of what appear to be human hands, local reports say.
The Siberian Times said in a report on Thursday (March 8) that the hands were found in the Beshennaya channel of the Amur River in the city of Khabarovsk.
Just a single hand was spotted, at first, but the find led to the discovery of 54 hands in total that were placed in a bag.
The report said that fingerprints were found on one hand, while the others are being examined.
The icy site where the grisly find was made is reportedly a popular fishing spot for locals, and is about 30km from the Chinese border.
An unnamed source told Russian news site Lenta.ru that "there was no crime" committed. He claimed that employees of the forensic medical office did not follow the stipulated rules for the disposal of medical waste, and instead disposed of the severed hands in the river, Russian news channel NTV.ru reported.
The Investigative Committee of the Russian Federation confirmed in a statement reported by local news sites that the hands were "not of criminal origin", and said it was investigating the case.
"Based on the audit results, a legal assessment will be made of the actions of the officials of the forensic medical institution in Khabarovsk responsible for the disposal of (the hands)," said the committee.