Investigations into the circumstances surrounding the sinking of the Kursk submarine have been completed. This was announced on Friday by General Public Prosecutor Vladimir Ustinov.
Evidence shows that the catastrophe took place on August 12, 2002 at 11:28 am 'as a result of the detonation of torpedoes of 65-76A caliber 650 mm inside the torpedo apparatus number 4, and the further development of the explosion process in separately stored military torpedos situated in the first compartment of the submarine'. These conclusions, according to Ustinov, were reached after studying 30 found fragments of the first exploding torpedo. The first explosion caused the death of the staff of the first compartment, fully demolished torpedo apparatus N4 and part of torpedo apparatus N2. Holes appeared in the hull, and the first compartment was flooded.
According to the conclusions of specialists, the second explosion occurred at 11:30 am and resulted in the total destruction of the front part of the Kursk submarine. The boat sunk to a depth of 110-112 metres. As a result of the second explosion, all sailors from compartments 2, 3, 4, 5, and 5b were killed. 'death happened quickly - from a few seconds to a few minutes', said Ustinov. The staff of compartments 6, 7, and 8 were moved by the officers to the 9th compartment. The divers did not manage to get out through the emergency exit of the 9th compartment because of its deformation. Experts came to the conclusion that the remaining sailors died at approximately eight hours after the explosion. So by the time of the submarine's discovery at 18:13 on August 13, it was impossible to save them, according to Ustinov.
In the opinion of specialists, the detonation of the first torpedo happened 'because of contact between flammable components - liquid hydrogen with kerosene and metal. Ustinov remarked that torpedoes of such a strength were manufactured by the USSR in 1948, and the process of their exploitation repeatedly raised problems. The general public prosecutor said that currently that kind of torpedo is no longer used by fleets.
Ustinov said that evidence suggests that 'the people who were involved in the development, preparation, storage and use of torpedoes 65-76A did not foresee the possibility of their exploding, and under the circumstances couldn't have foreseen it'. The criminal case against them was curt short for the absence of criminal behaviour. Evidence did not point to a crime in the actions of any of the members of the Kursk team. Ustanov admitted that a disturbance was shown in the organisation of marine military exercise. 'However, these disturbances are not among the primary reasons for the sinking of the Kursk submarine and its crew', he said.