Index

DATE=8/19/2000 TYPE=CORRESPONDENT REPORT TITLE=RUSSIAN SUB (L-2ND UPDATE) NUMBER=2-265653 BYLINE=LAURIE KASSMAN DATELINE=MOSCOW CONTENT= INTRO: Russia's navy now says there is little hope of finding any survivors on the nuclear submarine Kursk a week after it sank to the bottom of the Barents Sea. The chief of staff of Russia's Northern Fleet says it is likely that the crew in the front of the submarine died instantly when an explosion ripped through it. Correspondent Laurie Kassman reports from Moscow. TEXT: Vice admiral Mikhail Motsak told a Russian State T-V interviewer there is almost no chance anyone has survived aboard the Kursk. /// MOTSAK ACT IN RUSSIAN AND FADE /// It is most likely, he said, the whole front section flooded and the crewmen working there were killed in the first minutes of the accident. But, Mr. Motsak said, there were tapping sounds from the back of the submarine in the hours after the accident. /// MOTSAK ACT IN RUSSIAN AND FADE /// The knocking signals from the crew at the back let us know that section was also flooding and oxygen was low and air pressure was increasing. Mr. Motzak said the absence of any more S-O-S tappings since Monday probably means they had crossed the critical survival threshold. /// MOTZAK ACT IN RUSSIAN AND FADE /// Mr. Motsak told R-T-R T-V it is the gravest disaster that he has ever known in the history of Russia's elite nuclear fleet. Mr. Motzak's statements -- made in an emotion-filled voice with his head bowed -- formalize private fears among relatives of the submarine's crew. Earlier in the day, a roll call of the 118 sailors of the Kursk appeared on T-V, almost like a memorial. The Itar-Tass news agency reports that the committee in charge of determining what happened to the Kursk has concluded that a massive explosion is the likely cause of the accident. /// REST OPT /// Seismologists in Norway say they detected two explosions in the area of the Kursk last Saturday. Vice Admiral Motzak told Russian T-V he does not rule out collision with an unexploded World War Two mine that could have triggered a second explosion in the front torpedo compartment. Navy officials say rescue operations will continue in an effort to evacuate the crew of the Kursk -- dead or alive. British and Norwegian teams will be joining the effort later in the night. (Signed) NEB/LMK/DW/JP 19-Aug-2000 20:59 PM EDT (20-Aug-2000 0059 UTC) NNNN Source: Voice of America .