Murmansk, Russia; 26 October 2000 (RFE/RL) - The chief of staff of the Northern Fleet, Mikhail Mozak, said a note found on one of the four bodies raised from the Kursk described the sailors' plans to escape the sinking sub. "In the note it says that possibly two or three people will try to get out of the sunken submarine through the emergency escape hatch in the ninth section," Mozak said. "As we know this attempt was unsuccessful. Maybe because the hatch was full of water."
The note, which ITAR-TASS says was written by one Lieutenant Captain Kolesnikov, testifies that at least 23 sailors remained alive after explosions sank the nuclear submarine.
It also has aided efforts by divers to find the bodies of the 118 sailors who died on board after the submarine sank in the Barents Sea last August after two unexplained explosions.
"After we have found this important and precious piece of information, we changed the schedule of our activities based on what we learned. Our main efforts are now focused on the ninth section," Mozak said.