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First Rescue Attempt of Submarine Kursk Reportedly FailsAired August 15, 2000 - 2:01 p.m. ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
NATALIE ALLEN, CNN ANCHOR: Russian attempts to save the crew of that crippled nuclear submarine have so far failed. Now it appears the plight is even grimmer than earlier feared. For the second day in a row, the Russians have changed their story. Officials now say the wreck was caused by a catastrophic explosion, not a collision. Also today, the Pentagon says the accident may have occurred as early as Saturday, meaning the sub would have one less day of oxygen left.
CNN's Mike Hanna joins us now from Moscow with the latest on the effort to save the crew of the Kursk from the floor of the Barents Sea -- Mike.
MIKE HANNA, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, Natalie, conflicting reports all around. A naval spokesman has told CNN that the rescue efforts are continuing. The rescue efforts in the nature of putting a rescue pod down from a rescue ship onto the hull of the submarine, attempting to clamp it onto the escape hatch of the submarine, and allowing the crew to emerge in batches to be brought to the surface.
A short while ago, the Itar-Tass news agency reported that the first attempt to glue the pod to the submarine had failed and that a second attempt was now under way. However, a naval spokesman tells CNN that it's premature to talk of failure. The spokesman says that the attempt of the first part is continuing.
The one thing that does appear clear is that the rescue efforts are going ahead. The weather conditions appear to allow this to happen. And weather does appear to be the critical factor here. A few hours ago the northwestern gale that had been blowing across the Barents Sea started to diminish and allowed this window of opportunity for the rescue ships to get to work and attempt to start getting the 116 crew members out of the submarine -- Natalie.
ALLEN: Mike, any word from your vantage point on whether the Russians may seek some sort of international help?
HANNA: Well, there has been a report that a number of Russian admirals are on their way to Brussels, presumably for consultation with NATO forces there. But the chief of the Russian navy, General Vladimir Kuroyedov has stated throughout this tragedy that Russia has all the equipment it needs to conduct a successful rescue. He says the equipment is all in place. The difficult factor is the weather. And this is what he's keeping an eye on, but he says that Russia does not need outside hope. It has help, it has sufficient resources to be able to attempt to conduct a successful rescue, which is what it is now trying to do -- Natalie.
ALLEN: Mike Hanna in Moscow.
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