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Breaking News

Russian Sub Rescue Mission Faces Difficult Weather

Aired August 15, 2000 - 10:16 a.m. ET

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

BILL HEMMER, CNN ANCHOR: That submarine issue continues now at the bottom of the Barents Sea.

And CNN's Walter Rodgers has gotten near that area. He is in the northern section of Norway, along the Barents Sea and near the border with Finland and Russia.

Walter, what do you have from there for us?

WALTER RODGERS, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Bill, it's very clear, looking at weather here, why the Russians are having such difficulty mounting a rescue operation, which we are now told should begin in about six hours.

As you look out over Baringer (ph) Fjord here in Norway, there is low clown enshrouding all the mountains along the sides of the fjord, and that testifies to the fowl weather the Russians have encountered as they try to rescue the men aboard the Kursk. The sky is still gray and glowering.

Now that fjord, the Baringer Fjord, leads out to the Barents Sea, where the crippled submarine lies on the ocean floor in a little over 100 meters -- that is about 110 yards of water. And of course the men trapped aboard that crippled Russian nuclear submarine, it is perpetual night and stillness, and perhaps even nightmarish conditions because with the power out aboard that submarine, they are living in total darkness, and probably considerable fear, as they wait and hope and pray for the effort -- for the rescue mission that has been promised in a few hours.

In this region of the world, by the way, 70 degrees North Latitude, that is very north, farther north that any part of the Alaska. The weather changes very, very quickly. And even while the seas may be less turbulent this afternoon, there is a lower pressure system building over Iceland, and that is headed this way again. When that low pressure system bounces off the mountains in Western Norway, it re-intensifies again, and the seas begin to roll, and that will, of course, complicate the Russian efforts, when they put submersible rescue craft into the sea to try and pull the men off the sub -- Bill.

HEMMER: All right, Walter Rogers by telephone there. Walter, we will talk again throughout the morning for more information.

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