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Russian Sub Rescue Mission Under WayAired August 15, 2000 - 12:01 p.m. ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
JEANNE MESERVE, CNN ANCHOR: And now to Russia where ships are racing against time, trying to save 116 crew members aboard a nuclear submarine, crippled at the bottom of the Barents Sea.
CNN's Mike Hanna joins us from Moscow with the latest -- Mike.
MIKE HANNA, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, the rescue attempt is now well under way. About an hour ago a spokesman for the Russian navy, Igor Digalo, told CNN that an attempt was being made to attach a submersible sphere to the hull of the submarine. There is no news yet as to whether this has been successful.
Basically what has been happening is that a sphere has been lowered from the rescue ship Irodnisky (ph), this is then slipped down, onto the submarine. The difficulty is is that the submarine's reportedly at an incline of some 60 degrees, so the sphere has to slide across the hull of the submarine, there to be attached to the escape hatch. Then the pressure between the two vessels is equalized and the crew members are brought out.
We understand that the submersible carries some 12 people each time. The head of the Russian navy, Admiral Vladimir Koriadov (ph), has said earlier that the operation should take between six to eight hours. This, he says, if these favorable weather conditions under way at present, continue.
Back to you.
MESERVE: Mike Hanna, thank you.
FRANK SESNO, CNN ANCHOR: And weather conditions are crucial to the success of this rescue.
CNN's Walter Rodgers is in Norway, at the northern tip of Scandinavia, joins us now live via video phone line.
Walter, what can you tell us?
WALTER RODGERS, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Frank, you can tell from the gray and glowering clouds behind me in the Verangor (ph) Fjord here in Norway, which abuts the Russian border, just how much the weather is complicating the rescue efforts. One thing working on behalf of the rescuers at this hour is that this latitude, 70 degrees north latitude, we're in the high Arctic here, we have probably four hours more daylight even at 6:00 at night. Still we could have had a difficult time picking a less hospitable climate for a submarine to go down in.
As I say, this is Barents Sea, part of Arctic Ocean. The temperatures here -- surface temperatures on the water are only seven or eight degrees Celsius. Down below it doesn't matter what the daylight is above because those Russian sailors are sitting trapped in the hull of a nuclear submarine. The temperature there is just a few degrees above freezing. They're in the dark. You have to imagine they're huddled together wrapped in blankets, whatever coats they have, hoping that this rescue comes through.
The weather forecast for tomorrow, by the way, is more rain and rolling seas -- Frank.
SESNO: Walter Rodgers, thanks.
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