RFE/RL NEWSLINE Vol. 4, No. 205, Part I, 23 October 2000

DIVERS BEGIN WORK TO RETRIEVE 'KURSK' CREW BODIES. Russian and Norwegian divers, working in shifts over the past weekend, have cut through the outer hull of the sunken "Kursk" nuclear submarine and removed an industrial rubber coating between the outer and inner hulls. Work on cutting into the thicker inner hull began on 23 October and is not expected to be completed until the following day, according to Russia navy spokesman. However, as weather conditions deteriorate in the Barents Sea, it is feared that the work of the divers may be complicated. Russian Navy Commander-in Chief Vladimir Kuroedov cautioned the diving teams on 20 October not to take any excessive risks in carrying out the operation to retrieve at least some of the remains of the 118 crew members, Interfax reported. Earlier, he had suggested that the operation might not take place at all (see "RFE/RL Newsline," 20 October 2000). Only Russian divers are to enter the submarine. JC

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