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Russia: Third Attempt Made To Rescue Sub Crew

Moscow, 16 August 2000 (RFE/RL) - Russian naval rescuers are making a third attempt to reach 116 seamen trapped inside the damaged nuclear submarine "Kursk" stranded on the floor of the Barents Sea. Two earlier attempts to dock an unmanned rescue capsule failed. Officials are battling difficult weather conditions and poor visibility. They say that if attempts to evacuate the crew using escape capsules fail, the submarine could be lifted with inflatable pontoons. Oxygen supplies on the sub are expected to last only two more days. It is not known how many of the crew have survived since the submarine went down in an accident last weekend.

The navy command confirmed that the deputy head of Russia's navy is flying to Brussels today to discuss with NATO officials their offer to help. Earlier Russia turned down offers of assistance from Britain and the United States.