|Editions | myCNN | Video | Audio | Headline News Brief | Feedback||
Russian Sub Rescue: Lack of Oxygen, The Bends Greatest ConcernsAired August 15, 2000 - 9:30 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: New developments out of Russia where authorities say a new attempt is underway this morning to rescue 116 crew members aboard a crippled submarine. The Kursk, seen here in this file videotape, is stranded at the bottom of the Barents Sea. The head of the Russian navy now says a torpedo explosion near the front of the sub caused it to sink.
Earlier, Russian officials blamed the incident on a collision there underneath the waters of the Barents Sea.
More perspective now on the situation from an expert in this area. Cristina Chuen is a research associate with the Center for Nonproliferation Studies. She's on the phone now from Monterey, California.
Cristina, good morning to you.
CRISTINA CHUEN, CNTR. FOR NON-PROLIFERATION STUDIES: Good morning, Bill.
HEMMER: The latest word we have about this possible explosion. What is your take when you hear about a torpedo exploding on board?
CHUEN: Well, it doesn't sound very good. We know that the explosion created severe damage to the bow, flooding at least four of the 10 compartments in the submarine. And since those were all of the torpedo compartments, which are one of the possible escape hatches, that knocks out the possibility of using them in a rescue operation.
However, luckily, the hatch does appear to be undamaged. So presumably they will be using that to get the men out.
HEMMER: Let's talk a little more about this explosion. How could it be that a torpedo would explode? is it possible it would have to be engaged in order for that explosion to take place or not?
CHUEN: Well, it's very likely that it was engaged, that they were using it -- I mean, this accident happened the next to the last day during training maneuvers, during which they were supposed to fire some torpedoes.
HEMMER: The efforts now to put air and power lines down to this, apparently have not been successful just yet. Is that, in part, to be blamed on the weather or possibly the positioning of the submarine as it sits on the ocean floor?
CHUEN: I understand that it is lifting to the left, but not to an extreme degree. I haven't got the exact numbers, but unfortunately, as I understand it, the Russian navy does not have rescue submarines that latch onto hatches. They do have bells which can be lowered that can bring power and oxygen, and the reports I heard yesterday suggested that those were attaching. If they are not, that is a great concern because there must not be very much oxygen left in the submarine. And they do have personal oxygen masks, I believe they have oxygen candles that can be burned to released oxygen, but those have to be running low.
HEMMER: What can the human body stand, if one was to be removed himself from inside that submarine, based on that depth, said to be about 350 feet. How much damage could be incurred upon the human body to try and reach the surface in those chilly waters?
CHUEN: I am not sure. I mean, they need something to, most importantly, deal with the problem of the bends. So I think they have to get something onto those submariners, and not just have them try to swim it alone.
HEMMER: Cristina Chuen, from Monterey, California, up early this morning with us. Appreciate your time. Thank you.
TO ORDER A VIDEO OF THIS TRANSCRIPT, PLEASE CALL 800-CNN-NEWS OR USE OUR SECURE ONLINE ORDER FORM LOCATED AT www.fdch.com
|Back to the top||
© 2001 Cable News Network. All Rights Reserved.|
Terms under which this service is provided to you.
Read our privacy guidelines.