Russian Sub Rescue Turns To Recovery

Monday, August 21, 2000
Russia on Monday asked Norway to help recover 118 corpses trapped in the wreck of the Kursk submarine off northern Russia, the Norwegian foreign ministry said. A team of Norwegian divers earlier on Monday concluded that all sailors aboard were dead after opening the hatch and examining the wreck of the sub on the floor of the Barents Sea. The divers had been investigating a flooded airlock over the Kursk's inner escape hatch to see if there was any chance of finding survivors in the vessel, lying on the seabed 108 meters (354 ft) down. Norwegian captain Erlend Raanes, another Norwegian spokesman, told Reuters the divers had opened the hatch and found the compartment behind full of water. "They did not go inside," he said. Other evidence indicated there was no chance of finding any survivors in possible air pockets elsewhere in the vessel. Norway was offering to send a robot camera into the submarine to film the wreck for details to help future Russian efforts to raise the bodies or salvage the vessel. None of the divers are due to enter the wreck. After that, Norway plan to end the international rescue operation comprising a Norwegian-led team of 12 British and Norwegian divers and a separate British team equipped with a mini-submarine, unless Russian and Norwegian political leaders decide otherwise.

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