SLUG: 2-268550 Russia sub DATE: NOTE NUMBER:









INTRO: Russian and Norwegian divers resumed work Saturday at the wreck of the sunken nuclear submarine Kursk after more than a day's delay due to bad weather. However high seas continue causing problems for the recovery operation. Bill Gasperini reports from Moscow.

TEXT: Officials say the divers began removing a rubber coating that covers the inner hull of the submarine. The next step will be to cut a hole large enough for some of the divers to move inside and retrieve more bodies of 118 crewmembers who died when the sub sank in August.

The divers are working outside the ninth section located at the stern of the vessel.

This is because a note found on one of the four bodies recovered so far indicated that more than 20 crewmen gathered in the ninth section after the initial explosions caused the sub to plummet to the ocean floor.

Discovery of the note has revived feelings of horror many Russians felt at the time of the accident.

The note also rekindled some public anger at the way the authorities handled the disaster, especially the long delay in asking for outside help with rescue efforts.

Norwegian divers finally managed to open the escape hatch located in the ninth section more than a week after the accident.

However officials say it's unlikely that any of the men could have survived more than a day or two after the sinking.

The note was found on the body of Lieutenant Dmitry Kolesnikov, whose remains were due to be flown to the sub's home port on Saturday along with the three other bodies for a funeral.

However, the service had to be postponed because high winds prevented helicopters from flying back to shore with the remains.

Many relatives of the dead men say they are upset by the ongoing recovery operation because it only endangers the lives of more - this time, the divers. (Signed)