More than 20 Russians killed by nuclear submarine


MOSCOW (AFP) — More than 20 people were killed and another 20 injured when a fire extinguishing system was inadvertently activated aboard a Russian nuclear submarine in the Pacific Ocean, the Russian navy said Sunday.

"During sea trials of a nuclear-powered submarine of the Pacific Fleet the firefighting system went off unsanctioned, killing over 20 people, including servicemen and workers," said Captain Igor Dygalo, the navy's spokesman.

The accident did not apparently affect the submarine's nuclear reactor. "The submarine is not damaged, its reactor works as normal, and background radiation levels are normal," Dygalo stated.

Dygalo told AFP that President Dmitry Medvedev was being kept informed about the situation by Defence Minister Anatoly Serdyukov and had already ordered a "full and meticulous" investigation of the incident.

The incident recalled the 2000 Kursk disaster, when 118 crewmen died when their nuclear submarine sank after an onboard explosion in the Barents Sea.

The Kremlin was harshly criticised at home and abroad for its sluggish and secretive response to the Kursk disaster, but seemed to be moving quickly to avoid a repetition this time.

Dygalo said Medvedev had also ordered the defence ministry to provide "all possible aid and support to the victims' families."

The submarine was carrying out sea trials when the accident occurred and the stricken vessel was ordered to put in to a port on Russia's far east coast temporarily, he added.

The spokesman did not say exactly where the incident occurred or specify which port the submarine would return to.

Twenty-one people with varying degrees of injuries were evacuated from the submarine, Dygalo said.

A total of 208 people were aboard the submarine when the accident happened, but of those only 81 were servicemen while the others were naval technicians and specialists.

Fire suppression systems on submarines are relatively sophisticated and may rely on chemical liquids. It was unclear however how the accidental activation of the system on the Russian sub resulted in the deaths and injuries.

The submarine, accompanied by a rescue ship, the Sayani, was steaming towards a Russian Pacific Ocean port for temporary basing and was due to arrive in some 10 hours, Dygalo said.

The destroyer Admiral Tributs went ahead of the convoy to deliver the injured to port, he added.

The name and type of the submarine was not released.

However, in October officials from the Amur shipyard reported the launch of sea trials for the nuclear submarine Nerpa, of the Shchuka-B type (Akula in NATO classification), the RIA Novosti news agency said.

Since the Kursk disaster in August 2000, Russia has seen a string of accidents and mishaps with its naval submarines.

Nine sailors died aboard a K-159 submarine when it sank in the Barents Sea in August 2003 while being towed to port for decommissioning. Only one of the seamen on board was rescued alive.

In 2005, a mini-submarine of the Pacific Fleet got snared in a fishing net, leaving the crew trapped underwater with dwindling oxygen supplies.

A British rescue team using a high-tech mini-submarine managed to extract the Russian vessel and there was no loss of life.

here is the link: 20 russians

I don't understand why no one is talking about it! I was watching BBC, France 24, Al Jazeera, Euronews apart from the blabbering Indian new channels. In fact I never knew the existence of nuclear powered submarines until I read this post. I still don't understand how accident happened -- it is a kind of mystery. I hope no *green freak* will start a research of radiation effects of nuclear submarines on some rare russian fish!


Sabra said...

I saw this for the first time yesterday at someone else's site. Can't believe it isn't news in a paper or on television, either.

Just 21 fatalities. Ho hum. Nothing to see here, folks. Move along.

Bobby said...

I have been checking all day! no news at all!

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