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    Two crew members die in Russian warship fire in Pacific -2

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    Two seamen were killed and one was injured late on Wednesday after a fire broke out on board a large vessel of Russia's Pacific Fleet, a Navy spokesman said on Thursday.

    (Recasts, adds investigator's statement in paras 8-9)

    MOSCOW, September 18 (RIA Novosti) - Two seamen were killed and one was injured late on Wednesday after a fire broke out on board a large vessel of Russia's Pacific Fleet, a Navy spokesman said on Thursday.

    The Marshal Shaposhnikov, a large Anti-Submarine Warfare carrier, was returning to its home base near Vladivostok after exercises in the Sea of Japan when the fire started in the engine room. Investigators believe a fuel leak cased the blaze.

    Capt. 1st Rank Igor Dygalo said that according to a report from the fleet, the fire on the ship killed two seamen who were in the engine room.

    "It took eight hours to put out the fire," he said.

    The warship, which has been towed to port, was part of a naval task group which conducted live firing drills at dummy airborne and surface targets on September 15-17.

    The drills were the third in a series of combat training exercises conducted by the Pacific Fleet in the past month. Two previous exercises off Russia's Far East coast involved over 50 warships and submarines, along with naval aircraft and naval infantry.

    Dygalo said military prosecutors have launched an investigation into the fire.

    A spokesman of Russia's Investigative Committee said a fuel leak caused the fire.

    "The investigation has established that a fuel leak on board the ship penetrated the combustion chamber of a gas-turbine generator which burst into flames," Vladimir Markin said.

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