August 5, 2005

US Navy submersible joining Russia submarine rescue

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - The U.S. military will fly an
unmanned, Navy mini-submarine to Russia on Friday to join an
attempt to rescue seven Russian sailors trapped aboard a
stranded military mini-submarine on the Pacific floor, Navy
officials said.

"The deep-diving submarine 'Super Scorpio' will be flown
from San Diego to Petropavolvsk on an Air Force C-5 transport
along with a team of Navy operators at the request of the
Russian Navy," said Lt. JG Maria Miller, a Navy spokeswoman at
the Pentagon.

Miller told Reuters that the little vessel, capable of
cutting through steel cable, would be moved by truck to a
Russian ship to be taken to the scene in an attempt to aid in
the rescue.

The spokeswoman said that the submarine and its operating
team from the Navy's Deep Submergence Unit based at the big
naval base in San Diego could depart California as early as
Friday morning.

The little U.S. Navy submarine is four feet long, four feet
wide, eight feet high and weighs 4,500 pounds (2045 kg). Miller
said it was capable of diving to an ocean depth of 5,000 feet.

"It has the capability of cutting steel cable one inch
(2.54 cm) thick," she said.

In Russia, officials said that they had requested help in
the mission and suggested that the crew of the little Russian
submarine, apparently tangled in a fishing net, might have only
24 hours of oxygen left aboard the vessel.