Russia’s Defense Ministry said Tuesday that 14 submariners were poisoned by fumes and died after a fire broke out aboard a navy deep water research vessel. The fire began while the crew was surveying the seabed in Russian territorial waters on Monday.
NPR’s Lucian Kim reports Russian President Vladimir Putin has dispatched the defense minister to lead the investigation of the accident.
Putin described the stricken vessel as “an unusual submarine” and said seven of those killed were high-ranking naval officers.
Some Russian media outlets, citing military sources, said it was a secret nuclear-powered submersible that can operate thousands of feet deeper than regular submarines.