Russia buries final Kursk victims
St Petersburg, Russia -- Russia has buried the last recovered victims of the Kursk submarine accident, more than 18 months after the 118-member crew were killed.
Seven victims, including the captain of the nuclear-powered submarine Gennady Lyachin, were buried on Saturday at St Petersburg's Seraphimovskaya cemetery, joining 25 crew already buried there.
The sailors were killed after an explosion sank the submarine in Barents Sea in August 2000.
At the burial, naval chief hailed the sailors as heroes who had prevented atomic disaster.
"We bid farewell today to heroes," Navy commander Vladimir Kuroyedov said after the funeral.
"In sacrificing their lives, they saved hundreds of thousands of people in northwestern Russia and Scandinavia, preventing a possible atomic explosion of the reactor."
However, the factory that designed the Kursk says its reactors shut off automatically, suggesting the crew may have had little role in preventing a possible nuclear accident.
About 1,000 mourners attended the funerals. A guard of honour fired a gun salute.
Including the seven laid to rest on Saturday, Russia has identified and buried 115 bodies of Kursk crew members. The three remaining crew members are believed to be mutilated beyond recognition and unrecoverable.
The hull of the submarine, separated from the bow, was brought to the surface last year in a dramatic salvage operation.
An investigation has focused on a faulty torpedo as the cause of the blast that sank the Kursk, although the conclusion has not yet been declared final.
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