SLUG: 2-268477 Russia Sub (L-UPD) DATE: NOTE NUMBER:









INTRO: A note found on one of four bodies recovered from the sunken nuclear submarine Kursk confirms that some crew members survived the blast that sent the vessel to the bottom of the Barents Sea last August. Larry James reports from Moscow.

TEXT: The note was found in Lieutenant Captain Dimitry Kolesnikov's pocket. He wrote that he and 22-other crewmembers had survived the blast and had made their way to a compartment where emergency escape hatches were located.

Most of the note contained personal messages, which the Russian Navy says will remain confidential, but they released some portions that provided a chilling account of what it was like aboard the doomed sub.

All the crew from the sixth, seventh, and eighth compartments went over to the ninth - Lieutenant Captain Kolesnikov wrote. There are 23-people here. We made this decision as a result of the accident. None of us can get to the surface.

The note also said - I am writing blind - suggesting that the crew was in complete darkness. The note is the first confirmation that there had been some survivors.

Shortly after the Kursk sank, there had been speculation that some of the crew might have survived the initial explosions when there were reports tapping sounds could be heard from inside the hull. It has also been suggested that those sounds could have been the result of collapsing material inside the submarine, or of the vessel settling on bottom.

Russian attempts to open a hatch failed and it was a full week after the sinking before Norwegian divers succeeded. They reported the interior was completely flooded and there were no survivors.

So far the bodies of four of the 118-men who died on the Kursk have been removed from the submarine. Further recovery efforts have been put on hold due to bad weather in the area. (SIGNED)