Saturday, August 06, 2005

Royal Navy Working to Free Russian Sub

According to the BBC, a Royal Navy Scorpio ROV is working to cut nets free from the propellor of the stranded Russian minisub:

A British undersea robot has now made contact with the vessel at the accident site, off the Kamchatka peninsula.

The Scorpio craft is attempting to cut the mini submarine free of the debris pinning it to the seabed.

A US crew is also on its way to the site, as oxygen supplies on board on the Russian sub reportedly run low.

A spokesman for the British team said that the Scorpio had already begun to sever the nets trapping the mini-sub.

"We are in the water and are now working around the sub, cutting a bundle of nets strung tightly around the arc of the propulsion section," Roger Chapman told the BBC's World Tonight programme.

The Russian Priz submersible - itself a rescue vehicle - was on a training exercise when it got snagged and trapped underwater on Thursday.

Mr Chapman said freeing the mini-sub could allow it to travel back up to air level.

"Once the debris is clear, if the crew are able to operate their equipment, they can do a controlled ascent," he said.

The question is, of course, if the seven men trapped on the Russian sub can hold out.


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