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Old 08-21-2000, 07:27 AM   #1
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Post 118 Dead In a Watery Grave (Russian Sub)

A tragic loss of life....From the news....

Russian Fleet Chief Confirms Kursk Crew Dead

By Michael Steen

MURMANSK, Russia (Reuters) - Russia's Northern Fleet Monday confirmed that the 118 crew on the Kursk submarine were dead after Norwegian divers found the vessel flooded, RIA news agency reported.

``Our worst expectations are confirmed. All sections of the submarine are totally flooded and not a single member of the crew remains alive,'' RIA quoted fleet chief of staff Mikhail Motsak as saying.

It was the first statement by a Russian official that there was no more hope for survivors on the nuclear-powered submarine which plunged to the bottom of the Barents sea on August 12 after an accident.

Norwegian officials declared further attempts at a rescue as hopeless and said it should be called off. Norway said Russia had asked for help in the grisly task of collecting the bodies.

There was growing criticism of Russia's handling of the operation, as the head of the Norwegian mission complained of excessive Russian bureaucracy and a Russian politician accused the Northern Fleet of not properly assessing the

The confirmation of the crew's deaths was the final crushing blow to relatives who had held out slim hopes that some might have survived, despite official Russian statements that most of the crew had probably died in the accident.

The Norwegians provided the final proof as their divers opened the inner hatch of the submarine, 108 meters (354 feet) down in the Arctic waters of the Barents Sea, and looked inside.

Sub Completely Flooded

``We have found that the whole submarine is full of water,'' armed forces spokesman Lieutenant Colonel John Espen Lien told Norway's NRK public radio after divers inspected the wreck. None of the divers went inside the hull.

``We believe there is no chance of finding any survivors in the submarine,'' Lien added.

Rear Admiral Einar Skorgen, who heads the Norwegian mission, discussed the divers' findings with the commander of the Northern Fleet, Vyacheslav Popov, Monday morning.

``They have concluded that the rescue operation should be terminated,'' Lien said.

Thoughts were turning to the grim task of collecting the bodies of the men and giving them a burial on land.

``They have asked us for help (to retrieve the corpses),'' Norwegian Foreign Ministry spokesman Karsten Klepsvik told Reuters. He did not know Norway's response.

Russian officials have said the most likely sequence of events was that there was a first explosion, either from inside the vessel or caused by a collision.

They said the first blast wrecked the front of the sub and sent it to the sea bed at high speed. The impact led to a detonation of the Kursk's torpedoes -- a much bigger blast.

Norway offered to send a camera into the crippled submarine to film the wreck for details that might help future efforts to raise the bodies or salvage the vessel.

The LR5 mini-sub, a state-of-the-art rescue vessel yet to be used in a real operation, was standing by on its mother ship but it seemed unlikely it would be used.

Officials have said there is no danger from the submarine's nuclear reactor, shut down in the first minutes of the disaster.

Recriminations Ahead

The Norwegians' near-final verdict was likely to lead to widespread recriminations against Russian authorities for their reluctance to accept outside help in the first hours and days.

It took four days for the Russia to accept aid, but only 48 hours for the Norwegians to enter the submarine.

The anger could possibly spread to President Vladimir Putin himself, lambasted for inaction in the early days of the crisis.

An opinion poll indicated more than two-thirds of Muscovites were critical of Russia's initial refusal to accept foreign help.

The head of the Norwegian rescue mission, Skorgen, speaking to the U.S. television network ABC, criticized Russian bureaucracy for holding up decision-making on the operation.

``That has irritated me a little bit, that we have to accept to wait. But this is the fact, this is a Russian operation. We are supporting them and have to accept it,'' he said.

In an interview with the same U.S. network, Russian parliamentary member Andrey Kokosin said a delay in asking for outside help stemmed from ``inadequate reporting'' from the very beginning by the Northern Fleet.

``It took time to understand the real depths of the problem and the real danger to the lives of the people. That I think was the biggest problem and the biggest mistake from the very beginning.''

People in Murmansk, the Arctic Russian port which lies next to the bases where the Kursk was based, expressed shock.

``Everyone hoped some of them would survive...but many thought this would happen,'' said Natasha Furs, a student.

``Human life is not worth much here. Look at the history of our country, it is always better for someone to die than a secret to get out...Our president is responsible for this.''

``We lost time. We shouldn't have waited a whole week deciding whether or not to accept Norwegian help. I consider this criminal negligence,'' said Alexander Bobrov, a non-commissioned officer at the naval base of Severomorsk.

Media attacks on Putin and his top brass, both at home and abroad, continued unabated.

``In such an extraordinary situation, top officials should bear responsibility, first of all the president, defense minister and navy commander,'' said the Moscow tabloid Moskovsky Komsomolets. ``Not one of them has lifted a finger.''
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Old 08-21-2000, 07:55 AM   #2
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Let's take a moment of silence for them.

And for those who pray, let's pray for their families and loved ones.
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Old 08-21-2000, 03:53 PM   #3
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Truly a tragic thing...my thoughts and prayers go out to the family and friends of the Russian Navy men and women who gave their life to serving their country.
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Old 08-21-2000, 04:12 PM   #4
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The Russians have been saying it was either a collision or an explosion that originally triggered this. There are very few things in the sea that could collide with a 18,000ton submarine and came out unscathed. Three or four inches of high tensile strength steel (submarine) vs. maybe 3/4" of steel (surface ship) is a pretty unfair, unless that surface ship happens to weight a LOT. Chances are, if there was a collision severe enough to sink that sub, someone would have a heavily damaged surface ship, or another sunken sub. Since neither seems to be the case, I think it's pretty clear that there was an explosion.

Chances are, it was something similar to what (we think) happened to the USS Scorpion back in the 60s - a torpedo hot run. Torpedos run on nasty, nasty fuel, and if some of that somehow lit off it would be a very bad thing. If the torpedo malfunctions , it could then detonate inside the torpedo tube, making one very big hole for water to get into the people tank.

It is truly a shame that the Russians didn't request help sooner. My hearts definitely go out to the families of all those sailors.

Pat Olsen
USN submariner

[This message has been edited by Patrick Olsen (edited August 21, 2000).]
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Old 08-22-2000, 01:07 AM   #5
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If the russians would of let us help..........
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Old 08-22-2000, 01:23 AM   #6

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IIRC, I heard something about the fact that the cause of the accident in the first place was peculiar in the way that the thing they hit should have been large enough that they'd never be able to miss it if they were looking.

Personally this sounds like more of a conspiracy then anything to get another nuclear sub out of the water.
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Old 08-22-2000, 01:26 AM   #7

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IIRC, I heard something about the fact that the cause of the accident in the first place was peculiar in the way that the thing they hit should have been large enough that they'd never be able to miss it if they were looking.

Personally this sounds like more of a conspiracy then anything to get another nuclear sub out of the water.
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