Incidents » Disasters, catastrophes
Author`s name Ольга Савка

Another Kursk? 7 crewmembers trapped inside sunken diving vessel at the depth of 196 meters

A piece of fishing net spun around the propeller of the deep-sea diving vessel and trapped it on the sea floor in Russia's Far East

A serious state of emergency occurred in the Far East of Russia, the Kamchatka region. Seven servicemen of the Russian navy were trapped inside the Priz AC-28 bathyscaphe, which was blocked at the depth of 190 meters. The accident with the bathyscaphe calls into memory the tragedy with the sunken Russian submarine Kursk, which also happened in August, albeit in 2000. Emergency services are currently conducting rescuing operations in the region, sweeping the sea bottom in the area of the accident with anchors. Rescuers are trying to hook on the underwater vessel, or the fishing net, which twisted around the propeller of the bathyscaphe and blocked it on the sea floor.

Crewmembers of the submerged bathyscaphe cannot leave the vessel on account of the great depth. The air reserves in the trapped vessel will be enough for 48 hours, Interfax reports with reference to a source in the General Headquarters of the Russian Navy. A report from the press service of the naval command said, however, that the amount of air inside the sunken bathyscaphe would be enough for four days. “The air reserve, which is originally provided on this type of underwater vessels, will be enough for 120 hours. The accident occurred on August 4 in the afternoon, which means that the sailors will have four days,” the chairman of the press center of the Russian Pacific Navy, Alexander Kosolapov said.

The Priz AC-28 bathyscaphe suffered a state of emergency on Thursday afternoon during a routine submersion of the vessel. “The propeller of the bathyscaphe incidentally touched upon a piece of the fishing net as it was submerging. The net spun around the propeller and trapped the vessel under the water,” a spokesman for the Russian Navy Command told RIA Novosti.

The bathyscaphe is currently sitting at the depth of 190 meters. The seven members of the crew managed to establish a radio contact with a rescue vessel: they said that they all were well and alive. Emergency services maintain the connection with the bathyscaphe.

Nine rescue vessels are participating in the operation to lift the diving vessel from the sea floor. It is impossible for divers to work at such a great depth, which means that there will probably be a similar underwater vessel involved in the rescuing operation. There is a similar mini-submarine in the Kamchatka region: the vessel is being currently prepared for submergence.

The Priz AC-28 is a deep-sea rescue vessel, the construction of which was developed in 1986. The Russian Navy used this type of diving vessels during the operation to retrieve the sunken Kursk submarine from the bottom of the Barents Sea in 2000.