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City news, 01.08.2001 15:29

Special diving team from St.Petersburg to work at Kursk Submarine.

C: kursk.jpg Another group of divers left for the Barents Sea from St.Petersburg today - for the site where the Kursk submarine is being raised. They divers are taking Rapan television device to film the operation under the water.

The divers were not really known in the country before the tragedy with the Kursk sub happened. They are not really known still even after the unexampled and dangerous operation in the Barents Sea. But the country must know the names of its heroes. The world considered the actions of our divers who got into the hull of the submarine to be heroic; the company Halliburton ordered its certificates to all divers (the divers worked with the specialists of the mentioned firm). This was the first time when the company gave its certificates to those foreigners who did not undergo the special training. The Russians showed a high level of their professionalism under extreme conditions. Our diving team did not make a mistake during the work, they got into the broken compartments of the sub foreigners would not have enough courage to do that. The commanders were insuring our guys on board the ship: captain Vasili Velichko, Russias hero, test-diver Anatoli Khramov, naval diver-in-chief Aleksei Pekhov. They all were given the certificates of supervisors. By the way their supervisors earned $650 per hour and ours were working for their humble wages.

All participants of the last year expedition are going to be awarded medals and decorations. Alas, the heroes have not been awarded right until now and they left for this current expedition without their reward.

This diving team originally comes from the town of Lomonosov, the Leningrad region. The team was born 8 years ago when the USSRs fleet collapsed and the profession of a diver became really rare. Vasili Velichko was charged with forming the team. This person has been involved in the diving business since 1972. His profile is deep diving, he served in 19 countries. He was decorated with the Red Star order for the rescuing operation at the passenger steamer The Admiral Nakhimov which suffered a shipwreck in August of 1986. Vasili Velichko was the commander of the group of divers who raised about 1.5 thousand bodies from that sunken vessel. There were victims on divers part too 2 of them died during their work. Vasili Velichko still has the clear picture of that tragedy and other catastrophes a trawler that blew up in the republic of Georgia, The Suvorov steamer that ran into the bridge Divers say the hardest thing to get used to is to search for dead bodies and raise them. You are walking in the darkness and fear lest you should stumble on a dead body, - Andrei Zvyagintsev said long before the Kursk sub sank. Zvyagintsev was the first diver who was destined to gain entry to the 9th compartment of the submarine. The unique team is specialized in deep diving, it carries out the most complicated rescuing, technical works, trains the crews of submarines to rise in case of some breakdown. During the first days of events with the Kursk submarines the divers used to be really nervous, sitting in the coast of the Gulf of Finland unable to do anything. Velichko was indignant there were no rescue vessels in the fleet, no diving equipment carriers. Today the specialists say the crew of the submarine died at once, it was impossible to save the people. The divers who gained entry to compartments of the sub did not notice any signs of panic.

The success of the operation depends on the divers. It depends on how they cut holes in the hull of the sub, the divers will attach steel cables to the sunken submarine too. 26 holes are supposed to be cut. The technologies which are going to be used when raising the Kursk are unique. Specialists say any kind of that operation to raise a vessel can not be predicted, so no need to mention how incredibly difficult the operation with the Kursk is.

There was not enough time to get ready for the operation though it was actually planned long ago. It became clear the diving team would take part in the process only in May. The chief of the Science and Research Rescue Institute Yury Sukhachev gave a possibility to the team to train in the pool which allowed to imitate the 120-meter diving. The commander of the team said his people were thoroughly training 4 days a week in any season.

News source: Pravda

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