Stranded Russian minisub is trapped by 60 tonne anchor

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Friday, August 5, 2005

The mini sub is trapped off the south-easteren coast of the Kamchatka Peninsula

The Interfax news agency is reporting that a Russian minisub that was stranded underwater in the Pacific Ocean is trapped by two 60 tonne anchors.

The submarine propeller has snagged on the antenna of a sonar underwater coastal defense station, (or perhaps very long low frequency arrays, which can be thousands of yards) 623 ft below the ocean 43 miles off Kamchatka. "The anchor needs to be blown up" in order to be able to raise the AS-28 submarine, the commander of the Russian Pacific Fleet told Interfax.

"If the explosion is successful, the system will be raised to a depth of 100 meters and lit up by the Tiger [television camera], and we can at last be 100% sure that it's the submarine, and deepwater divers will be able to continue work," he continued.

The AS-28 submarine, with seven crew onboard, became entangled on Thursday while at a depth of 190 m.

Earlier reports that the submarine had been taken under tow have been proved false. Ships had attempted to trawl for the submarine in order to drag it into shallower water, but it is reported that they failed to capture the submarine.

The Pacific Fleet commander says that the crew have enough food and water to survive until Monday although oxygen will run out by Saturday. The three-man submarine was designed to supply the crew with a five day supply of oxygen, however with the seven man crew the supply has been greatly depleted.

A C-5 Galaxy is loaded with people and equipment from the Deep Submergence Unit, Naval Base Coronado. The C-5 is bringing two Super Scorpio robotic rescue vehicles to Russia to assist in the rescue.

Around ten Russian navy ships are attending, to be joined by four Japanese vessels on Monday. The US and UK navies are also flying in specialist rescue equipment, including two U.S. navy owned remotely-operated underwater robots capable of cutting through steel lines up to 1" thick and one U.K. video array ROV. They will arrive on Saturday.

The crew have been using an underwater acoustic telephone to communicate with the surface, and are reported to be remaining calm. They have been told to keep still and to conserve the ship's power supplies.

The same class of vessel, which measures 13.5 m by 3.8 m, was used during the ill-fated rescue attempt on the Kursk, which was lost with all hands almost exactly five years ago.

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