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Russian deep-sea diving vessel trapped on ocean floor

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posted on Aug, 5 2005 @ 06:10 AM

The Russian navy has launched an operation to rescue the crew of a deep-sea diving vessel trapped on the ocean floor in the Russian Far East. The Priz submersible became entangled in a fishing net at a depth of 190m (620ft) off the Kamchatka peninsula on Thursday, officials say.

The navy says 10 ships have been sent to the area, and the help of the US Pacific fleet has been requested.

It adds that the seven men on board have enough air for several more days.

The submersible, normally used for underwater rescue operations, was taking part in a military exercise when it sank.

Too deep

"The Navy's Command has requested the US Pacific Fleet for assistance through the embassy in Moscow," Russian Navy spokesman Capt Igor Dygalo told Itar-Tass news agency.

He gave no details on what kind of help the US could provide.

Navy officials said there was "technical communication" with the sailors, but no voice contact. None are believed to be hurt.

The vessel is too deep to allow the sailors to swim to the surface on their own.

The accident occurred almost exactly five years after the nuclear submarine Kursk sank to the bottom of the Barents Sea after explosions on board.

All 118 men on board died - including some sailors who survived the initial blast but ran out of oxygen.

Russian authorities were sharply criticised for their handling of the crisis.

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