updated 9/22/2006 7:51:24 AM ET 2006-09-22T11:51:24

Researchers have found and raised fragments believed to be from a Soviet steamship that sank more than 70 years ago off the Arctic region of Chukotka, a Russian news agency reported Thursday.

Members of an expedition had recovered what appeared to be pieces of a handrail, a lamp fitting or a ventilation system from the wreck of the Chelyuskin in the Chukchi Sea, said Josef Rabinovich, a Russian Academy of Sciences official.

Photographs and metal samples were to be sent to Danish shipbuilder Burmeister & Wein to analyze and identify, ITAR-Tass quoted him as saying.

"No other ship could have reached the area with such coordinates," Alexei Mikhailov, director of the Russian Underwater Museum, was quoted by ITAR-Tass as saying.  "Anyway, we shall know for sure after the examination."

The Chelyuskin was caught in thick ice floes in 1933 while sailing from Murmansk to Vladivostok and sank in February 1934.  The ship's more than 100 passengers fled the sinking vessel and spent three months in a tent built on the ice before being rescued.

The wreck's precise location was not immediately clear.

The Chukotka Peninsula is about 4,700 miles east of Moscow.

Copyright 2006 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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