More than 20 sailors and civilians were killed on board a Russian nuclear submarine in an accident caused by a defect in the fire suppression system, an aide to the Russian Navy commander said on Sunday.
"More than 20 people were killed during sea trials as a result of accidental launch of the fire-extinguishing system at a nuclear submarine of the Pacific Fleet on November 8 (Saturday)," Captain First Rank Igor Dygalo said. "Shipyard workers and servicemen are among the victims."
He said the Navy commander-in-chief had ordered to stop the trials and the submarine was heading to a temporary base. The large anti-submarine ship Admiral Tributs and the rescue vessel Sayany are accompanying the submarine, he said.
At the time of the accident, there were 208 people including 81 sailors on board the submarine, Dygalo said.
First Deputy Defense Minister Alexander Kolmakov and Navy Commander-in-Chief, Admiral Vladimir Vysotsky are heading for the site of the accident, Dygalo added, but did not specify the type and name of the submarine.
He said 21 people injured in the accident had been shifted to another rescue vessel.
Dygalo said that the accident had not damaged the submarine's reactor.
The most serious accident involving any Russian submarine occurred on August 12, 2000, when the nuclear submarine Kursk sank following an on board torpedo explosion, killing all 118 crewmembers.