The families of the 14 Russian servicemen who died after a fire broke out on a nuclear submarine have reportedly been told that their relatives averted a “planetary catastrophe” before they passed away.
A high-ranking military official is said to have made the comment at a funeral for the crew in St Petersburgh days after the accident in the Barents Sea earlier this week.
The incident remains shrouded in mystery after the Russian government refused to reveal the submarine’s name and its mission, claiming them as state secrets.
However, the Kremlin has said the accident was sparked by a fire in the battery compartment of the submarine.
Defence minister Sergei Shoigu said earlier this week that the onboard nuclear reactor was “operational” after the crew took “necessary measures” to protect it.
His deputy Andrei Kartapolov also claimed the “hero” submariners sealed a hatch to contain the blaze.
The Kremlin has not revealed what exactly occurred, or whether a major incident was averted by the servicemen’s actions.
Paying tribute to the crew at the memorial, the unnamed military official said the submariners had prevented a much bigger tragedy, Russian news outlet Open Media reported.