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Fire Reported Aboard Soviet Sub Off Norway

June 26, 1989|From Times Wire Services

OSLO — A Soviet submarine was reported on fire off the coast of northern Norway early today. It was not known if the vessel was carrying nuclear weapons.

Col. Gullow Gjeseth, a spokesman for Norway's Defense Ministry, said, "We detected a call for help from a Soviet submarine in international waters off the coast and sent an F-16 (fighter jet) to inspect the area."

The F-16's pilot reported that the submarine was on the surface and surrounded by heavy smoke in international waters some 70 miles northwest of South Island, Defense Minister Johan Jorgen Holst said on state radio. It was not immediately apparent what class of submarine was on fire, he said.

3 Soviet Planes in Area

Gjeseth said there were three Soviet aircraft in the area and that one Norwegian rescue helicopter was on its way to the scene.

In Moscow, the Soviet news agency Tass reported the fire, quoting Norwegian sources.

Tass did not say whether the sub was carrying nuclear weapons.

Rescue services in Norway received disaster signals from the submarine, and corresponding services in the Soviet city of Murmansk, on the Kola peninsula, were notified, Tass said.

The Soviets have started a rescue operation, it said.

No other details were immediately available.

This decade, there have been at least four deadly Soviet submarine accidents, the most recent coming April 7, when a Soviet Mike-class nuclear attack submarine caught fire and sank about 300 miles off Norway, leaving 42 of the 69 men aboard dead.

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