Outlook Not Great For 100 Russian Sailors, Sub

Monday, August 14, 2000
In quickly evolving events, Russia's navy on Monday was desperately trying to rescue more than 100 sailors trapped in a crippled nuclear-powered submarine on the bottom of the sea. Although it was initially reported that the vessel was forced down by flooding in the front of the vessel, the latest reports from the navy say that the submarine has marks of a "big and serious collision" -- possibly with a foreign submarine. The navy's chief said he was pessimistic about the chances of a positive outcome to the incident in Arctic waters. He did not make clear whether he was referring to the fate of the crew or the submarine, which was commissioned just five years ago. The Defense Ministry of Norway, which also borders the Barents, said the submarine was in international waters north-east of Murmansk at a depth of around 150 m (500 ft).. The independent AVN military news agency, which has good sources in defense circles, said it was told by the Northern Fleet the submarine was listing some 60 degrees to the port side and was 85 miles (137 km) from Severomorsk, the fleet's base. The navy said it had rushed rescue vessels to the scene of the accident, amid fears the sailors' oxygen would run out. Itar-Tass news agency quoted naval officials as saying 10 vessels were at the site while Interfax quoted officials in the regional government of the northern port of Murmansk as saying a special rescue diving bell had already been lowered to the stricken vessel.

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