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'G H O S T   S H I P'   K U R S K

O hear us when we cry to Thee, For those in peril on the sea

Raising the Kursk

 

Saturday, August 12, 2000... the Kursk- a Russian Atomic Submarine- sinks to the floor of the Barents Sea in a mysterious accident, and becomes one of the most infamous, controversial, and haunting submarine tragedies ever.

Sinking after two massive, seismic explosions of unknown origin while on exercises, the Kursk came to rest 300 feet below the surface on the cold, dark depths of the ocean floor. Inside it's hull 118 men were carried to their doom, at least 23 of whom were still alive and remained trapped inside as the submarine lay wrecked at the bottom of the ocean. 

Rescue efforts were hampered by bad weather, technical difficulties, and the Russian's policies of secrecy and refusal of help from numerous other countries, despite the fact that messages from the sailors, tapped in code against the hull of the sub, could be discerned. Yet it was over a week before any rescue vessels made their way down to the Kursk. By then it was too late for the men who had been trapped inside. Despite the Russian government's claims that there were no survivors after the initial blasts, letters were later found on some of the bodies of the men, chronicling their desperate struggle for survival inside the sunken sub, and containing their heartbreaking final goodbyes to their loved ones. A note, found on the body of Lieutenant-Captain Dmitry Kolesnikov, read in part- "All the crew from the sixth, seventh and eighth compartments went over to the ninth. There are 23 people here. We made this decision as a result of the accident. None of us can get to the surface." -providing definitive evidence that some of the crew did survive for some time after the sinking.

The subsequent botched rescue attempts and shady government cover-ups were shrouded in controversy and mystery, and there were many theories about the actual cause of the sinking of the Kursk... ranging from an explosion of a malfunctioning torpedo, a collision with another vessel, or even an undetected World War II bomb or mine. Whatever the cause, the Kursk remained stuck at on the ocean floor until October 2001, when it was finally raised by a Dutch team. In more recent news reports the Russian government has been quoted as saying that the explosion of one of the Kursk's torpedoes was determined to be the cause of the terrible accident; however, to this day the mysterious fate of the "ghost ship" Kursk remains one of the saddest, most haunting tragedies of the sea.

RNS Kursk Memorial And Information

 

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