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Russia remembers victims of Nerpa nuke sub tragedy

A file photo

MOSCOW (PTI): Russia remembered the victims of the Nerpa tragedy, who were killed exactly a year ago this day during the trial sailing of the Akula-II class nuclear attack submarine to be leased to India on Sunday.

A monument was unveiled in the central cemetery in Komsomolsk-on-Amur city in memory of the 12 technical staff of the local shipyard killed on November 8, 2008 due to accidental release of lethal gas from the fire suppression system into the sleeping quarters, Russia's ITAR-TASS news agency reported.

Twenty people including 17 technical staff and three crew members were killed and 21 injured in the accident said to be caused by 'human error', when a crew member allegedly tempered with the temperature gauge, resulting in the release of lethal gas.

There were 208 people, including 81 crew members, aboard the nuclear submarine sailing in the Sea of Japan at the time of the tragedy.

The incident is considered the Russian Navy's worst disaster since the sinking of the Kursk nuclear submarine in August 2000, in which 118 crew members were killed after a blast in the torpedo room.

A memorial service was also conducted in the coastal town of Bolshoi Kamen, where the Nerpa is currently preparing for pre-commissioning trials by the Russian navy for its subsequent lease to India for 10 years under a USD 650 million deal.

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