Fire aboard Russian submarine kills 14 sailors in the Barents Sea
FOURTEEN Russian sailors have been killed when a fire broke out while their deep-water research submarine was carrying out a survey of the seafloor near the Arctic, the Russian defense ministry said
FOURTEEN Russian sailors have been killed when a fire broke out while their deep-water research submarine was carrying out a survey of the seafloor near the Arctic, the Russian defense ministry said.
The incident took place on Monday in Russian territorial waters and the fire has been extinguished, the ministry said.
A Russian media outlet, RBC, cited an unnamed military source as saying the submarine was nuclear-powered, but Russian officials made no comment on the type of vessel involved, reports Reuters.
The incident was the deadliest involving a Russian naval submarine since August 2000, when the nuclear-powered Kursk sank to the floor of Barents Sea after two explosions in its bow, killing all 118 men aboard.
Authorities in nearby Norway said they were monitoring but had not detected abnormally high levels of radiation.
'This is a great loss for the navy,' Russian President Vladimir Putin said in a televised meeting with his defense minister, Sergei Shoigu.
'We express our deepest condolences to the families of those who died. We will do everything we can to support them,' said Mr Putin.
The president told Mr Shoigu to fly to Severomorsk, the Russian naval base on the Barents Sea where the submarine is now located, to find out what caused the incident, and then report back to him.
At their meeting, Mr Shoigu and Mr Putin also made no mention of the type of vessel, or whether it was nuclear-powered.
The RBC news outlet said it was a vessel known by the designation AS-12, which is powered by a nuclear reactor and is designed to carry out special operations at depths where regular submarines cannot operate.
The 14 fatalities included seven who held the rank of captain, first class, and two were holders of the Hero of Russia, the highest military award issued in the post-World War Two period.
'This is not a regular vessel, as we know, it's a scientific research vessel. It's a highly professional crew,' Mr Putin said.