Russian navy: sub accident kills more than 20

November 8, 2008 6:54:03 PM PST
An accident aboard a nuclear-powered Russian navy submarine doing a test run in the Pacific Ocean on Saturday killed more than 20 people, the navy said. The nuclear reactor aboard the submarine was operating normally and radiation levels were normal, navy spokesman Capt. Igor Dygalo said.

The accident occurred when a fire-extinguishing system went into operation in error aboard the submarine, Dygalo said. He said the dead included sailors and shipbuilders.

The submarine was heading back to shore on its own power, and 21 people injured in the accident were evacuated to a ship that was escorting the sub. There were 208 people total aboard the vessel.

Russia's navy has been plagued by deadly accidents, including the explosions that sank the nuclear-powered submarine Kursk in 2000, killing all 118 seamen aboard.

Sunday's accident came as the Kremlin seeks to restore Russia's naval reputation. A naval squadron is headed to Venezuela for joint exercises this month in a show of force near U.S. shores.