DATE=8/18/2000 TYPE=CORRESPONDENT REPORT TITLE=RUSSIAN SUB (L) NUMBER=2-265609 BYLINE=LAURIE KASSMAN DATELINE=MOSCOW CONTENT= VOICED AT: INTRO: Russian rescue operations continue for a fifth day to try to save 118 sailors trapped aboard the Kursk nuclear submarine. Officials there now say it was a collision that sank the ship in the northern Barents Sea. Correspondent Laurie Kassman has more from Moscow. TEXT: Russia's Deputy Prime Minister Ilya Klebanov says films taken of the Kursk indicate extensive damage to the ship's bow that, he says was caused by a collision with an unknown object. On Tuesday, officials had blamed the accident on an explosion on board the submarine. Independent military experts had also suggested one or possibly two explosions on board the Kursk had blown a hole in its front section. The conflicting reports and silence of President Vladimir Putin has sparked outrage in the public and the press. Newspaper editorials ask why the president has remained on holiday at a southern seaside resort while tragedy has engulfed the nation. Russian efforts to save the crew and ship so far have failed because of strong underwater currents and poor visibility. On Wednesday, Russia finally said yes to foreign offers of help. Britain has dispatched a sophisticated mini-submarine and Norway is sending deep-sea divers but they are not expected to reach the accident site until Saturday. Nobody knows for sure if there are any survivors on the Kursk. There have been no more signals from the ship since Wednesday. Officials say film of the damage indicates a gaping hole in the ship's front starboard section where most of the crew would have been working at the time of the accident. Russian officials at first said the oxygen supply aboard the Kursk would run out by now (Friday). Then they estimated it could last another five days. Experts say that sadly suggests there are fewer survivors on board to share it. (Signed) NEB/LMK/PLM 18-Aug-2000 04:19 AM EDT (18-Aug-2000 0819 UTC) NNNN Source: Voice of America .