The Soviet submarine accident off Norway last month was a product of the Cold War and a scientific tragedy reminiscent of the Challenger space shuttle disaster, Pravda said.

The official Communist Party newspaper said the accident, which left 42 dead, showed once again that "The Cold War, carried down into the ocean's depths, devours not only billions of dollars, rubles, pounds and francs, but thousands of seamen's lives, too."In a separate report, the defense ministry newspaper Red Star said a group of ships has been dispatched to the site where the submarine sank to locate and inspect it. The Soviets say they have not decided whether to raise the nuclear-powered ship, which was carrying nuclear-tipped torpedoes.

Soviet officials say the radiation level in the water surrounding the site remains normal.

Pravda devoted a full page Friday to the fate of the experimental submarine Komsomolets, which sank April 7 after a fire broke out on board.

"I would dare to say that the loss of this boat for our country means the same thing as the loss of the shuttle Challenger for the United States," wrote correspondent Nikolai Cherkashin.

"The Komsomolets was the first hydro-cosmic orbital station, so to speak. It carried torpedoes only because there was no getting away from the ongoing naval confrontation," Pravda said, adding that "the Komsomolets could have been a prototype of a new kind of sea transport. Its crew were actually experimenters."