Good news for families of the crew of a Russian mini-submarine trapped at the bottom of the sea. The crew has been inside the submarine since Thursday, when the sub was ensnared by cables off the Kamchatka peninsula in Russia's far east region. There was enough oxygen to last for 4 days.
A British rescue vessel with an undersea robot equipped with heavy-duty cutting devices has cut free the Russian boat. The crew can now conduct an emergency resurfacing, which only takes a few minutes.
The Russians have ben having problems with its submarines the last few years. The most traumatic had been the explosion on board the Kursk in 2000, where all crew perished due to inadequate efforts to rescue them.
Later it was alleged by Western submarine experts that the Kursk was sunk by an American submarine, the Memphis, who fired the fatal shot when it misunderstood the intentions of the Kursk.
It seemed that the USN submarines, Toledo and Memphis. were shadowing the Kursk when Toledo accidentally collided with the Russian sub. The shadowing part is quite normal when one of the two major powers conduct sea exercises.
When the collision occurred, the Russian submarine was perceived as opening its torpedo tubes. The Memphis launched the attack to protect the damaged and retreating Toledo.
The whole affair was hushed up by the 2 powers between then US President Bill Clinton and Russian President Vladimir Putin. The Americans provided a sweetener to go with the bitter pill – a deal that included the cancellation of $US10 billion of Russian debt.