14 Russian sailors killed in submarine fire

popular

An aerial starboard bow view of a Russian Navy Northern Fleet DELTA IV class nuclear-powered ballistic missile submarine underway on the surface, supposedly this is K-18 "Karelia".

US Navy

MOSCOW (Reuters) - Fourteen Russian sailors were killed when a fire broke out while their deep-water research submarine was carrying out a survey of the sea floor near the Arctic, the Russian defense ministry said on Tuesday.

A Russian media outlet, RBC, cited an unnamed military source as saying the submarine was nuclear-powered, but Russian officials made no comment on the type of vessel involved.


The incident was the deadliest involving a Russian naval submarine since August 2000, when the nuclear-powered Kursk sank to the floor of Barents Sea after two explosions in its bow, killing all 118 men aboard.

The latest incident also took place in the vicinity of the Barents Sea. Authorities in nearby Norway said they were monitoring but had not detected abnormally high levels of radiation.

"This is a great loss for the navy," Russian President Vladimir Putin said in a televised meeting with his defense minister, Sergei Shoigu.

"We express our deepest condolences to the families of those who died. We will do everything we can to support them," said Putin, who canceled a public engagement on Tuesday afternoon to deal with the incident.

Putin told Shoigu to fly to Severomorsk, the Russian naval base on the Barents Sea where the submarine is now located, to find out what caused the incident, and then report back to him.

The incident took place on Monday in Russian territorial waters and the fire has been extinguished, the Russian defense ministry said earlier.

"Fire broke out on board a deep-water scientific research vessel that was studying the marine environment of the world ocean on behalf of the Russian navy," Interfax news agency cited a ministry statement as saying. "Fourteen submariners died as the result of smoke inhalation."

The defense ministry did not identify the type or model of the vessel. At their meeting, Shoigu and Putin also made no mention of the type of vessel, or whether it was nuclear-powered.

The RBC news outlet said it was a vessel known by the designation AS-12, which is powered by a nuclear reactor and is designed to carry out special operations at depths where regular submarines cannot operate.

Norwegian officials said they had been in touch with their Russian counterparts but had not been able to establish the type of vessel.

"We have made checks and we are not monitoring too high radiation levels in the area," Per Strand, a director at the Norwegian Radiation and Nuclear Safety Authority, told Reuters.

He said his agency had seen Russian media reports that a gas explosion took place on board the submarine.

The Interfax news agency quoted the Russian defense ministry as saying that it had not reported a gas explosion to the Norwegian side.

FILE PHOTO: Russian President Vladimir Putin meets with FIFA President Gianni Infantino at the Kremlin in Moscow, Russia February 20, 2019. Yuri Kadobnov/Pool via REUTERS

HIGH-RANKING CREW

In his meeting with his defense minister, Putin said that of the 14 dead, seven held the rank of captain, first class, and two were holders of the Hero of Russia, the highest military award issued in the post-World War Two period.

"This is not a regular vessel, as we know, it's a scientific research vessel. It's a highly professional crew," Putin said.

The sinking of the Kursk submarine in 2000, soon after Putin took office, focused official attention on the state of the military and its hardware, which had been subject to underfunding and neglect after the collapse of the Soviet Union.

Since then, Putin has overseen a massive increase in military spending that has allowed the armed forces to renew their equipment and improve training and morale.

However, accidents have continued to happen as the military, used by the Kremlin to project its growing international muscle, has ramped up its activities and extended into new theaters of operation.

In December 2016, a Russian military plane carrying 92 people, including dozens of Red Army Choir singers, crashed into the Black Sea en route to Syria where Russian forces are deployed. Everyone on board was killed.

Russia's military has been developing new submarines as part of a broader push for new defense hardware under Putin that has also included hypersonic missiles and naval drones.

U.S. media have cited Pentagon officials as saying they are concerned about the increased activities of Russian submarines and spy ships operating in the ocean off the U.S. coastline.

According to an archived report in Russian newspaper Izvestia, the AS-12 submarine was first launched in 2003 and is known by the nickname "Losharik".

It is made out of a series of inter-connected spheres, which are stronger than the conventional submarine construction and allow the AS-12 to resist water pressure at great depths.

The plant that built the vessel declined to disclose any details about it, citing secrecy rules, Izvestia reported.

(Additional reporting by Gwladys Fouche in Oslo; Writing by Christian Lowe; Editing by Peter Graff and Frances Kerry)


Editor's Note: This article by Hope Hodge Seck originally appeared on Military.com, a leading source of news for the military and veteran community.

In the wake of a heartwarming viral video that was featured everywhere from Good Morning America to the Daily Mail comes a disheartening revelation: The 84-year-old self-described Army nurse cranking out push-ups in her crisp Vietnam-era uniform might not be who she said she was.

Maggie DeSanti, allegedly a retired Army lieutenant colonel who rappeled out of helicopters in Vietnam, was captured in a video challenging a TSA agent to a push-up competition ahead of a flight to Washington, D.C., with the Arizona chapter of the organization Honor Flight on Oct. 16. The video soon was everywhere, and many who shared it, including Honor Flight, hailed DeSanti's toughness and spirit.

Read More Show Less

The summer before sixth grade, Cindy Dawson went to an air show with her father and was enamored by the flight maneuvers the pilots performed.

"I just thought that would be the coolest thing that anybody could ever do," she said, especially having already heard stories about her grandfather flying bombers during World War II with the Army Air Corps.

So by the first day of school, she had already decided what she wanted to be when she grew up.

Read More Show Less
(ABC News)

Peach schnapps, sex on the beach, piña colada may be familiar cocktails to anyone who's spent an afternoon (or a whole day) getting plastered on an ocean-side boardwalk, but they're also specialty desserts at Ray's Boozy Cupcakes, Etc, a bakery in Voorhees, New Jersey run by a 93-year-old World War II veteran named Ray Boutwell.

Read More Show Less
Instagram/US Coast Guard

A former senior Coast Guard official has been accused of shoplifting from a Philadelphia sex shop.

Rear Adm. Francis "Stash" Pelkowski (Ret.) was accused of stealing a tester item from Kink Shoppe on Oct. 8, according to an Instagram post by the store that appeared online two days later. In the post, which included apparent security camera footage of the incident, a man can be seen looking at products on a counter before picking up an item and placing it in his pocket before turning and walking away.

The Instagram post identified the man as Pelkowski, and said it wished him "all the best in his retirement, a sincere thank you for your service, and extreme and utter disappointment in his personal morals."

Read More Show Less

SAN DIEGO —The Marines say changes in the way they train recruits and their notoriously hard-nosed drill instructors have led to fewer incidents of drill instructor misconduct, officials told the Union-Tribune.

Their statement about training followed an Oct. 5 Washington Post report revealing that more than 20 Marines at the San Diego boot camp have been disciplined for misconduct since 2017, including cases of physical attacks and racist and homophobic slurs. The story also was published in the Union-Tribune.

Read More Show Less