Kursk Rescue Plans Coming

Thursday, March 22, 2001
President Vladimir Putin will formally announce plans to raise the nuclear submarine Kursk when he meets European Union leaders this weekend. "It will be the first time that the president of the Russian Federation will announce this," Rio Praaning, secretary general of the Kursk Foundation, said. Kursk sank in the Barents Sea last August killing all 118 men on board. The 150-m (492-ft.) vessel has remained at the bottom of the sea, 100 m below the surface, ever since. Russia plans to raise the submarine at the end of August or in September before Autumn weather makes the operation impossible. Late last year divers recovered 12 bodies from the wreck and the new plan has the aim of recovering the other victims still on board as well as clearing a major environmental hazard from the seabed. Russia is hoping to raise half of the estimated $70 million needed to raise the vessel from foreign donors, but will fund the whole operation itself if monies are not forthcoming, the Kursk Federation -- an independent body which aims to drum up support for the project -- said. - (Reuters)

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