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Breaking News

Russians Waiting on Arrival of British LR-5 to Aid Kursk Sub Rescue

Aired August 16, 2000 - 12:01 p.m. ET

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

FRANK SESNO, CNN ANCHOR: After four agonizing days, Russia is now accepting help from Britain in a bid to rescue its stranded sailors. One hundred eighteen crew members are aboard the submarine Kursk on the bottom of the Barents Sea.

CNN's Mike Hanna joins us now from Moscow with an update -- Mike.

MIKE HANNA, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, Frank, weather conditions continue to deteriorate throughout the day. A navy spokesman says that the rescue attempts have been hampered by very heavy seas, by high winds and by exceedingly strong currents and limited visibility on the ocean floor.

There's uncertainty, too, about the conditions of the crew members aboard the submarine Kursk. Earlier, a government minister said there were no signs of life aboard the boat. However, asked to comment, a military spokesman pointed out that communication was only possible when the rescue vessels where in direct contact with the hull of the submarine. Because of the adverse weather conditions, this communication could not be established for most of the day.

So the rescue goes on. That will be aided by the arrival of a British rescue vessel. The LR-5 is on its way to the rescue area. The Russians have confirmed that they did ask the British for assistance in the matter. The LR-5 is a special rescue vessel that can operate at deep depths and can also operate on submarines that are at a list of more than 60 degrees, which is what the Kursk is reported to be. But the British crew will also have to contend with the weather conditions that have proved such a problem for the Russian rescue teams.

Mike Hanna, CNN, reporting live from Moscow.

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