SCMP Monday, August 21, 2000

Divers work on sub

Russian television showed the first footage yesterday of the emergency exit hatch of the stricken nuclear submarine Kursk, which rescuers have been trying to pry open to reach any survivors of the 118-man crew trapped inside.

Three deep-sea divers from Norway were working to open the damaged escape exit. A Norwegian rescue vessel was due to attempt to latch on to the hatch.

The submarine sank to the bottom of the Barents Sea nine days ago following a collision or explosion and authorities now hold out little hope for the crew's survival.

Norwegian divers have reportedly been able to unscrew one of the valves that shuts the hatch.

However, Russian officials have conceded all the crew are almost certainly dead.