AP News, Firefighting, News

Two Dead in Fire on Russian Aircraft Carrier

In this handout photo provided by an anonymous source, smoke billows from the Admiral Kuznetsov carrier during a fire in Murmansk, Russia, Thursday, Dec. 12, 2019. A fire on Russia's only aircraft carrier injured two service members, Russian military officials said Thursday. The Admiral Kuznetsov was docked in Murmansk in northern Russia for an upgrade when the fire started amid welding work on Thursday morning. (Anonymous Source via AP)

Fire during welding work on the Admiral Kuznetsov

MOSCOW (AP) — A crew member who went missing during a fire on Russia’s only aircraft carrier was found dead Friday, raising the death toll from the blaze to two, the nation’s military officials said Friday.

The fire on the Admiral Kuznetsov broke out during welding work at a shipyard in the Arctic port of Murmansk on Thursday and spread quickly through the carrier’s internal compartments. The ship’s crew and emergency teams spent more than 20 hours battling the blaze.

The military reported two crew members dead, and authorities in Murmansk said 11 other people were injured.

The Investigative Committee, Russia’s top state investigative agency, opened a probe into a possible violation of safety rules.

In this handout photo provided by an anonymous source, smoke billows from the Admiral Kuznetsov carrier during a fire in Murmansk, Russia, Thursday, Dec. 12, 2019. A fire on Russia’s only aircraft carrier injured two service members, Russian military officials said Thursday. The Admiral Kuznetsov was docked in Murmansk in northern Russia for an upgrade when the fire started amid welding work on Thursday morning. (Anonymous Source via AP)

The Admiral Kuznetsov has been plagued by breakdowns and setbacks since its launch in 1985. The massive blaze follows a 70-ton crane crashing onto the Admiral Kuznetsov’s deck in October 2018, when a mammoth floating dock holding the ship sank.

The crane left a hole of 20 square meters (215 square feet), and the loss of the dock significantly slowed down repairs on the carrier since the navy lacked another of comparable size.

The fire will further push back the work to fit the ship with modern control systems and new weapons.

FILE – In this 2004 file photo the Admiral Kuznetsov aircraft carrier seen in the Barents Sea, Russia. A fire on Russia’s only aircraft carrier injured two service members, Russian military officials said Thursday Dec. 12, 2019. The Admiral Kuznetsov was docked in Murmansk in northern Russia for an upgrade when the fire started amid welding work on Thursday morning. (AP Photo, file)

In 2016, the Admiral Kuznetsov was deployed to the eastern Mediterranean as part of Russia’s campaign in Syria, launching the first carrier-mounted attacks in Russian naval history.

It lost two carrier-borne fighters during the Syria mission.

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