August 6, 2005

U.S. and Britain help in Russian mini-sub rescue

MOSCOW (Reuters) - British and U.S. underwater rescue
vehicles were airlifted on Saturday to Russia's Kamchatka
peninsula to join efforts to save the crew of a mini-submarine
stranded on the floor of the Pacific, news agencies said.

Russian rescue mini-submarine AS-28 with seven crew members
on board has been trapped 190 meters (600 feet) below the
surface since Thursday off Russia's Pacific Coast. Officials
say they have enough air for 24 hours.

RIA quoted a Russian military spokesman in Kamchatka as
saying the British transport plane that delivered the Scorpio
-- a remote-controlled underwater vehicle capable of descending
925 meters (3,035 feet) -- was being unloaded in the regional
capital Petropavlovsk-Kamchatsky.

Interfax later reported from Petropavlovsk-Kamachatsky that
U.S. transport plane with an unmanned deep-diving Super Scorpio
submersible has also landed.

Interfax said two more U.S. planes with rescue equipment
were expected about 1100 GMT.

Earlier on Saturday, a Russian attempt to drag the AS-28 to
shallow waters to evacuate the crew has failed. Most hopes are
now pinned on U.S. and British submersibles cutting a cable
that anchors the AS-28.

RIA said British rescuers could reach the scene in five or
six hours, while Interfax quoted a military source as saying
they could join the rescue operation at 1400 GMT at the