Bad weather prevents divers from entering 4th compartment of sunken “Kursk” submarine
Work at the site of the "Kursk" tragedy has been suspended because of bad weather, it was reported Friday night. Wind speed has increased to 20 meters per second over the rough sea. It is not known how long the pause will last. The diverse were called to the surface when they were cutting their way to the solid hull of the 4th compartment of the sunken submarine. Possibly that compartment will be the last to be surveyed.
Some time before that, work had been stopped in the in the 3rd compartment. The hope that it has not been ruined during the accident is now dashed. Today it is absolutely clear that devastation in the sub is far greater than expected and the 3rd compartment is a mess of broken equipment. Work in it presents a fatal risk to divers.
The power of the second blast in the submarine was so great that its hull between the 2nd and the 3rd compartments is somewhat swollen, which leaves no chance to the crew.
One of the goals of the operation still is to recover secret documents on communication and combat control. But the extent of destruction in the 3rd compartment makes it practically impossible to recover secret equipment and documents from the sub.
When a hole is cut into the 4th compartment, first it will be surveyed with the help of TV cameras, after which a decision will be taken whether divers may enter it. Normally not more than 10 crewmen are in the 4th compartment in a combat situation, but dozens of them may gather in it, since a dinette, a galley, a medical room, and the crew's cabins are there. Naval experts do not rule out that after the blast many crewmen could take refuge in the 4th compartment. A survey will show whether this is so.
Russian Navy Commander Vladimir Kuroyedov is sure that the "Kursk" submarine sank as a result of a collision with a foreign submarine. He said Friday that he would defend this version at the meeting of a government commission investigating the causes of the "Kursk" disaster, headed by Deputy Prime Minister Ilya Klebanov, due on November 8.
"I have the facts but, so far, there is not enough evidence," Kuroyedov said. "Evidence lies not only on the seabed," he added.
The letter found on the body of Lieutenant Captain Dmitry Kolesnikov gives no clue to the cause of the accident. A man in the 9th compartment, which is far distant from the place in the sub where the disaster occurred, could know nothing about the cause. He could only understand that several explosions had occurred.
The letter has not been published because, first, it is part of the investigation material, which cannot be disclosed, and, second, it is a personal letter and its publication for any reason would be immoral. The letter unveils no mystery. Meanwhile, the relatives of "Kursk" crewmen suffer from being in the focus of public attention.
The bodies of 13 crew members have been identified since the start of the retrieval operation. Three of them have been buried with full military honors.