Fire safety system not cause of Nerpa accident: Investigative Comn

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Moscow, Nov 11 (UNI) The fire safety system that was thought to have malfunctioned and caused the deaths of 20 people onboard the Russian nuclear attack submarine Nerpa, was in order, a source in the Investigation Commission told RIA Novosti news agency today.

The source also said the submarine had the required amount of individual breathing kits onboard, adding however that it was too soon ''to make any final conclusions as to the cause of the deaths.'' ''The main question now is whether or not there was a fire onboard the submarine in the first place,'' he said.

The tragedy occurred last Saturday while the Nerpa was undergoing trials in the Sea of Japan.

Three submariners and 17 shipyard workers died in the accident.

There were 208 people, including 81 submariners, onboard the ship.

Investigators said the deaths were caused by suffocation after Freon gas was released following the activation of the submarine's fire safety system, due to possible human error.

UNI XC RJ NS2041

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