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Breaking News

Russians to Launch Fresh Rescue Attempt of Russian Sub

Aired August 15, 2000 - 7:54 a.m. ET

THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.

LEON HARRIS, CNN ANCHOR: Welcome back to the CNN Center in Atlanta, where we have breaking news now on the situation where we have been watching the fate of some 116 sailors trapped in the bottom of the Barents Sea in a Russian submarine.

Our Mike Hanna in Moscow has the latest for us right now -- Mike.

MIKE HANNA, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, Leon, according to the Interfax News Agency, the Russian defense Minister, Igor Sergeyev, has confirmed that an evacuation has now begun, that is the attempts are now being made to extract the 116 crewmen aboard the nuclear submarine Kursk from the vessel.

We do not know how this is being done. No details have been provided at this particular point, but the defense minister says that the evacuation is underway.

There has been a strong northwestern gale in the vicinity in recent hours. However, reports from the region indicate that the weather conditions have bettered in the last hour or so, allowing this rescue attempt to happen. Basically, there have always been two options to get the crewmen out of the submarine, one is a self- propelled exit way for the crew members themselves using pressure suits to exit the submarine and swim the 180 meters up to the surface; the second is for submersible vessels to be used to link themselves to the submarine and extract the crew members a few at a time, taking them to the surface. This is obviously something that would take a lot of time and the weather conditions could deteriorate at any stage.

Mike Hanna, CNN, reporting live from Moscow.

HARRIS: All right, thank you, Mike.

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