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Russian Officer Under Investigation In Mini-Sub Probe

15 August 2005 (RFE/RL) -- Russian prosecutors have opened a criminal investigation against the captain of one of the vessels involved in efforts to rescue a mini-submarine --> trapped on the bottom of the Pacific Ocean earlier this month.

The Pacific Fleet's deputy military prosecutor, Roman Kolbanov, said the captain -- who was not named -- was accused of negligence.

Kolbanov alleged that the captain had damaged an underwater remote-controlled vehicle during Russia's rescue efforts.

Kolbanov said the vehicle was damaged through lack of professionalism. He said its breakdown meant the rescue operation cost an additional 10 million rubles ($353,000).

A British rescue team with a sophisticated underwater robot eventually managed to free the submarine, which had become entangled in cables and fishing nets at the sea bottom.

The seven sailors on board the submarine had spent three days underwater.