Probe begins in Russia's submarine accident

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Moscow, Nov 9 (UNI) Russian military prosecutors have started investigation of the causes of the accident onboard the Akula class Nerpa nuclear-powered submarine, which was to be leased to India, media reported.

''The Pacific Fleet military prosecutor's office started investigation of the reasons and circumstance of an emergency situation aboard a nuclear submarine,'' the spokesman for the Chief Military Prosecutor's Office Mikhail Yatsenko told Itar-Tass news agency.

''On orders of Deputy Prosecutor General and Chief Military Prosecutor Sergei Fridinsky, a group of prosecutors of the central staff of the Chief Military Prosecutor's Office went to the Pacific Fleet,'' Yatsenko said.

''According to preliminary information, the accident killed 20 people - 6 sailors and 14 civilians, who were aboard the submarine while 22 people received injuries of various degrees,'' the spokesman for Russia's Investigative Committee Vladimir Markin said, quoted by RIA Novosti news agency.

The accident occurred late yesterday during the sea trials of the nuclear-powered submarine as a result of the unsanctioned activation of the submarine's fire-extinguishing system.

Russian TV reports said the submarine was expected to be supplied to Indian Navy next year.

The incident is the worst for the Russian navy since the sinking of the Kursk submarine in 2000 when all 118 sailors died.

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