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By Greg Holt
In the worst Russian submarine disaster since the 2000 Kursk submarine accident, 14 Russian Navy officers were killed when a fire started in the battery compartment of the sub and spread according to Russian Defense Minister Sergei K. Shoigu.
Mr. Shoigu also confirmed that the specialized submarine was able to return to port and that the nuclear reactor that powers the sub was fully intact according to a New York Times report.
“According to the Norwegian Radiation Protection Authority, the accident was triggered by a gas explosion on board the vessel. Representatives of Russian authorities on Tuesday informed the Norwegian side about the incident, Morten Strand from the Radiation Protection Authority told Norwegian broadcaster NRK.
The Russian Defense Ministry, however, rebuffs that any such information was ever shared with the Norwegians.
There has not been measured any heightened levels of radiation in the area.” (source)
According to USNI News, the damaged vessel was identified by: “Russian-language news service RBC as Losharik (AS-12), a nuclear-powered submarine that is widely believed to be a key asset for the Russian Main Directorate of Deep-Sea Research, also known as GUGI.”
The Russian deep-sea submarine was apparently doing research along the seafloor of the Barents Sea when the accident happened.
“On July 1, fourteen submariners – sailors died in Russian territorial waters as a result of inhaling combustion products aboard a research submersible vehicle designated for studying the seafloor and the bottom of the World Ocean in the interests of the Russian Navy after a fire broke out during bathymetric measurements,” according to a statement released by the state-controlled TASS News Agency
The Barents Observer reported that eye witnesses saw the submarine surface rapidly and that bodies were removed from the sub and transferred to another ship.
The submarine was towed to Russian North Fleet headquarters in Severomork and an investigation is underway according to TASS News Agency.
Images and artwork concerning the Losharik Russian sub can be seen here.
Featured image is a public domain image and is not representative of submarine in the article. Refer to link above for relevant images.
H/T Lyle Rapacki
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