Valery Aleksin Nezavisimaya Gazeta, December 5, 2000, p. 2

Experts are studying fragments of the Kursk

Fragments of the hull are among the remnants of the nuclear submarine Kursk which have been brought to the Central Design Bureau Rubin from the site of the catastrophe. Their examination may shed light on what caused the tragedy.

A senior officer of the Northern Fleet headquarters who insisted on anonymity says that the fragment was been cut from the hull and shows a groove 15 meters long and 2 meters wide. The fragment weighs 10 tons. According to the officer, “It was a blow from above.” All in all, 60 tons of metal were salvaged from the catastrophe site and brought to Rubin. All the fragments are being studied. Moreover, a torpedo tube from the Kursk was salvaged. To quote the officer, “Forensics has not confirmed the hypothesis that the Kursk was done in by explosion in the torpedo tube.”

Alexander Zavalishin, Rubin Senior Engineer, confirms that specialists are studying all the fragments salvaged in the Barents Sea and brought to St. Petersburg. Zavalishin says it is impossible at this point to say exactly how the groove on the hull got there.

Zavalishin: We are still considering three hypotheses: a problem in the first compartment, collision with a mine left over from World War II, and collision with another underwater object, probably a foreign submarine.

All these conclusions contradict the words of Deputy Premier Ilya Klebanov, Chair of the governmental commission investigating the sinking of the nuclear submarine.

Klebanov: We have not ruled out the possibility that the governmental commission may come to a conclusion about the cause of the catastrophe even before the Kursk is lifted from the seabed.

It does not look, however, like establishing the cause will be possible without a salvage operation.