Pope Francis of the Roman Catholic Church extends his deepest condolences to the families of the Russian sailors killed in a fire onboard a research submersible, interim Director of the Holy See Press Office Alessandro Gisotti told journalists on Wednesday.
"Pope Francis knows about the tragedy onboard a Russian submarine and expresses his sympathy and condolences to the families of those killed and all those affected by this misfortune," TASS quoted Gisotti as saying.
On Tuesday, the Russian Defense Ministry reported on the death of 14 sailors during a fire onboard a submersible in Russia’s territorial waters on July 1. The accident occurred while the submersible was conducting bathymetric measurements.
The fire was extinguished thanks to the crew’s courageous efforts, the ministry emphasized. The submersible vehicle is now at the Severomorsk naval base, and the accident is being investigated.
Russian President Vladimir Putin and the head of the Roman Catholic Church are scheduled to meet in Vatican City on Thursday.