Design Flaw Link To Sub Deaths

Faulty design of a Russian submarine's firefighting system contributed to an accident earlier this month that killed 20 people, Komsomolskaya Pravda reported Tuesday, citing the head of the naval shipyard repairing the vessel.

The system did not have a safety mechanism such as a glass cover over the control panel that would need to be broken to activate it, KP quoted Gennady Bagin, head of the Vostok shipyard, as saying. It lacked a centralized alarm to alert the submarine command if the firefighting system were set off in an individual section of the vessel, Bagin said.

Prosecutors charged a sailor Monday with negligent homicide over the Nov. 9 incident. The submariner, who faces up to five years in jail, is accused of activating the vessel's firefighting system without authorization.

Toxic gas was released into the Nerpa submarine during trials in the Sea of Japan, causing Russia's deadliest maritime accident since 118 died in the sinking of the Kursk submarine in 2000.