|SLUG: Russia Sub||DATE:||NOTE NUMBER:|
TITLE=RUSSIA SUB (L)
INTRO: A joint Russian-Norwegian diving team is continuing work recovering bodies from the sunken nuclear submarine Kursk. As Larry James reports from Moscow, 12 bodies have been removed from the wreck so far.
TEXT: A Russian navy spokesman says eight more bodies have been pulled from the Kursk in operations conducted Sunday and early Monday morning. All of the bodies that have been found were recovered from the rear-most, 9th compartment of the submarine. That is where a group of 23 men who survived the initial sinking had gathered.
The the four sailors recovered last week were honored in a ceremony in the military town of Severomorsk on Sunday. Russian Defense Minister Igor Sergeyev spoke at the memorial ceremony asking forgiveness from the grieving families of the 118 men who died on the Kursk. Russians have expressed their outrage at the country's military and civilian leadership for their handling of initial rescue efforts. President Vladimir Putin did not attend the Severomorsk ceremonies, taking part instead in another memorial service for the more than 80 people killed in the crash of a Russian military transport plane in neighboring Georgia last week.
Last Thursday, the navy reported it had found a note on one of the four bodies recovered a day earlier showing that for a time at least there were survivors on board the stricken vessel after it sank to the bottom of the Barents Sea. It was the first confirmation that there had been some survivors after the catastrophic event that sent the Kursk down. It said 23 crewmembers had survived the initial sinking and suggested they may have lived several hours before the compartment they were in was either flooded or their oxygen supply ran out.
Recovery efforts are continuing for now but Navy officials have indicated that they probably will not continue the operation once the divers have finished searching the aft section of the submarine. Experts have estimated that only 20 or 30 percent of the bodies are likely to be recovered since little is thought to remain of the rest of the crewmembers, who died when massive explosions tore through the submarine sending it to the bottom.