14 Russian Navy officials killed in submersible fire

Moscow: At least 14 Russian Navy officials were killed after the submersible they were in caught fire, said Defence Ministry on Tuesday.

The cause of the incident is uncertain, reported Sputnik.

A deep-water research vehicle belonging to the Russian Navy was conducting a bathymetric measurement operation in Russian territorial waters when a fire broke out on board, Russia Today cited the ministry’s statement as saying.

After the incident, the Russian President Vladimir Putin held a meeting with Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu.

“I extend my sincerest condolences to the families of the deceased. […] We must do everything possible to provide [them with] help and assistance”, Putin said at a meeting with Sergei Shoigu.

“This is a great loss”, Putin said.

Following the incident, Norwegian authorities claimed that submersible was nuclear-powered submarine and it was a gas explosion which caused the death of the officials.

However, the Russian Defence Ministry has denied it.

“Thanks to the courageous actions of the crew, the fire on board the deep-water submersible was extinguished […] No notification has been sent to the Norwegian side concerning the Russian deep-water research vessel”, the ministry said in a statement.