Russian sailors suffocate stealing sub parts

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The Independent Online

Five sailors from Russia's Pacific Fleet suffocated while scavenging an old submarine for scraps of nonferrous metal, a news report said Tuesday.

The sailors died Monday night while rummaging through an unventilated chamber of the decommissioned submarine, docked at a bay in Russia's Far East, the Pacific Fleet command told the ITAR-Tass news agency.

Their bodies were later discovered by guards, the report said. It did not specify how the five sailors managed to get aboard, or why they couldn't get out of the submarine before suffocating.

Theft of military equipment by servicemen in Russia's demoralized and underfunded military has become frequent in recent years. The hunt for nonferrous metal, which is then sold as scrap metal for small sums, has also become endemic in Russia and other impoverished former Soviet republics.