MOSCOW (AP) _ Investigators removed two more bodies from the mangled hull of the Kursk nuclear submarine, bringing the total number recovered to 72, the Russian Northern Fleet said Monday.

The bodies were discovered by military investigators working in the third and fourth sections of the submarine, said Vladimir Mulov, military prosecutor for the Northern Fleet, according to the salvage operation's official Web site.

Since the Kursk was raised last month from the bottom of the Barents Sea and brought to a dry dock in the northern port of Murmansk, officials have recovered 60 bodies. Fifty-seven of those have been identified and returned to relatives for burial.

Last year, 12 bodies were removed from the Kursk during a special operation by military divers.

The Kursk, one of Russia's largest and most modern submarines, sank when explosions shattered its front section during naval maneuvers in the Barents Sea on Aug. 12, 2000. The entire 118-person crew died.

Russian officials say the disaster was triggered by the explosion of a practice torpedo, but they have not determined what caused the blast.

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On the Net:

Salvage operation's official Web site, http://www.kursk.strana.ru.