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Note Found on Sailor's Body Aboard KurskAired October 26, 2000 - 6:12 a.m. ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
ANDRIA HALL, CNN ANCHOR: We have breaking news for you now involving that sunken Russian sub, the Kursk. Just moments ago, at a news conference in Murmansk, Russia, a Russian general said that divers retrieving the bodies of the 118 sailors on board found a note on one of them today. The note chillingly describes the final frantic moments on board the vessel. It said at least 23 people remained alive after powerful explosions killed most of the crew.
The doomed seaman who wrote the note also said, quote: "None of us can got to the top. I am writing blindly." It is the first time that anyone had survived that blast aboard the Kursk, which sank of course, as you know, August 18th.
The nuclear power sub sank, excuse me, Aug. 12, that's a correction, while taking part in naval exercises. Divers have recovered four bodies after cutting holes in the top of the sub's hull.
We now want to bring in CNN's Jill Dougherty in our Moscow bureau. She will have more on the developing story in a live report in just a few minutes. Now I'm told, so now -- Jill, I see you there now.
What can you tell us about his latest finding there in Murmansk?
We're sorry, Jill is having some audio problems. We will bring her in live...
JILL DOUGHERTY, CNN CORRESPONDENT: We're OK now.
HALL: Now we're there. OK, good. We understand breaking news...
HALL: That's OK. Just tell us more about this latest development.
DOUGHERTY: Well, it is really quite astounding news. What happened was there was a news conference, breaking news conference, by the Navy chief of the Russian northern fleet staff, Michael Motsov (ph), and he said that of the -- that four bodies had been recovered so far in this recovery operations of the Kursk, and that on one of those bodies, the body on Lt. Dimitri Kaleznikov (ph), a note was found. In the beginning, a very personal note, apparently to his family, and then he said that all crewmen from compartment six, seven and eight had gone into the ninth section of that -- the Kursk submarine.
So the men who were located in about the mid portion had been moved, apparently very quickly after this accident, into the ninth section. There were 23 of them in that ninth section, but they could not get to the top.
There apparently was one try, an attempt by two of the men, to get out with an emergency submersible that would go up to the surface, but they could not do that.
So very dramatic note. And it now centers the recovery efforts back onto the ninth section, where they believe that at least 23 of those men were found. And if you remember, there were 118, a total of 118 men aboard the Kursk when it went down.
Back to you.
HALL: Jill, what is this likely to mean for the president there, President Putin, and the Russian government, which has been very harshly criticized in the investigation of this case and of course the recovery efforts back in August?
DOUGHERTY: Well, at least immediately, you know there was quite a lot of criticism of even trying to carry out this mission of rescuing -- going into recovered the bodies. It's a very dangerous operation and some people said that not much would be found. It could be too dangerous for the divers, and perhaps it shouldn't have been done.
But the Russian government decided to go ahead, and primarily on the promise of Vladimir Putin, the president of Russia, who said that we are going to get those recovery efforts, we are going to go in and try to retrieve the bodies. And indeed, it looks as if very early on now, the fourth body has been recovered, and already they have gotten something that at least sheds a little bit of light on the last moments of the Kursk.
Back to you.
HALL: Jill Dougherty, we want you to make sure to stand by and bring us any developments as they come to you.
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