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2 sailors killed in UK nuclear submarine accident

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LONDON, England (CNN) -- Two Royal Navy sailors were killed in an accident aboard HMS Tireless, a nuclear submarine, Britain's Ministry of Defense said Wednesday.

"Their next of kin have been informed and our sympathies are with them and their friends at this difficult time," the military said in a written statement.

Another submariner, who was injured, was flown to a U.S. military hospital, the statement said.

"His injuries are not life-threatening and he is expected to make a full recovery," it said.

The accident occurred at 0420 GMT (0120 ET) aboard the Trafalgar Class submarine, which was on exercise in the Arctic. It appears to have involved a piece of air-purification equipment in the forward section of the submarine, the statement said.

"The ship's company dealt with the incident quickly and professionally and, as a result, there is only superficial damage to the forward compartment," it added.

Neither the nuclear reactor nor the submarine itself was affected, and the vessel surfaced quickly, it said.

The hunter-killer submarine does not carry nuclear missiles. It was taking part in a joint UK-U.S. exercise and was underneath the ice cap at the time when the incident occurred.

The crew brought the 22-year-old vessel to the surface through the ice.

The piece of air-purification machinery that appears to have failed was installed in 2001. Its use on other boats has been restricted "until safety checks can be carried out," the statement said. It added that the equipment is not essential.


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