CNN LIVE EVENT/SPECIAL
Survivor Discusses Russian Hostage Crisis, Military Intervention
Aired October 28, 2002 - 12:35 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
WOLF BLITZER, CNN ANCHOR: We're following an important story in Moscow. Russia is observing a national day of mourning for the victims of the hostage situation in the Russian capital. But officials are facing some very tough questions about the gas used to end that siege, a gas that Moscow's chief doctor blames for the death of 115 hostages.
Andrei Naumov survived the 58-hour siege and he is joining us now live from Moscow.
Andrei, thank you very much for joining us.
I know it must have been a horrific ordeal for you. Briefly tell our viewers what happened when the Russian military, the commandos, came in and unleashed the gas?
ANDREI NAUMOV, SURVIVOR: When the gas came in the hole, I saw a small white smoke. It smelled like smoke, and I laid on the floor (UNINTELLIGIBLE). And then I remember nothing until the hospital, until the time when I woke up after everything.
BLITZER: Do you remember how long? Was that a few seconds or a few minutes? How long did it take before, as best as you can remember, you passed out.
NAUMOV: I saw the smoke, maybe 10 seconds, or approximately a little less. Then I remember nothing. Then I woke up in the hospital, maybe after half an hour. Have to guess.
BLITZER: Andrei, you say you saw smoke. But did you smell anything? Do you remember a certain smell that the gas might have had?
NAUMOV: I smelled something. I smelled something, I smelled smoke, but I don't know now that it was gas, because gas was invisible, and it was only smoke, not gas. (UNINTELLIGIBLE)
BLITZER: Did the Russian troops who used the gas, did they launch the gas from weapons, or were there canisters? How did they throw the gas in there, into the theater?
NAUMOV: Oh, I don't know. I think that the gas came from the floor. I don't know. (UNINTELLIGIBLE)
BLITZER: Now, you were in there, what, for some 50 hours, in your seat together with 700 or so other people, and you were held hostage? Were you allowed to move at all during those 50 hours?
NAUMOV: We are sitting there. We can do nothing on the seat. Sometimes we have a drink. Sometimes toilet, but to move, we can move only 15 minutes to go to the toilet and back. And the other time we were sitting and sleeping in the chairs.
BLITZER: The people who survived, I'm told, based on all of the accounts, were younger people like you. You're only 17 years old and you are healthy. But some of the older people obviously could not withstand the gas, whatever that gas was. Is that right based on what you know?
NAUMOV: Yes. It's right, sometimes, because some young people died, and some old people died. There are no rules when people died from this gas or when people not die. This is usual gas which is used for operations, for (UNINTELLIGIBLE). It's a usual gas, not military.
But everyone had some reaction on the same gas. Some of us didn't sleep, and the others sleep too long.
BLITZER: And how do you feel right now, Andrei?
NAUMOV: Now I'm feeling OK. (UNINTELLIGIBLE) Everything is perfect. I'm alive. (UNINTELLIGIBLE)
BLITZER: We're happy you're feeling OK, and we're happy you're alive. Thanks, Andrei Naumov for joining us, from Moscow.
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