Kursk sinking: Foreign sub collision ruled out

The sinking of the Kursk was not caused by a collision with a foreign submarine, the leading investigator into the disaster says.

The sinking of the Kursk was not caused by a collision with a foreign submarine, the leading investigator into the disaster says.

Prosecutor General Vladimir Ustinov says the submarine sank after a second explosion during military exercises last year.

He says there is not a single conclusion indicating a collision.

"Investigators believe that the sub's sinking was caused by the second explosion, which took place 135 seconds following the first one," he said.

"We believe that the first explosion was the explosion of a torpedo," which in turn detonated ammunition stored in the front part of the Kursk," said Ustinov, who is in charge of the investigation into the accident.

All 118 crew died when the blasts sent the submarine, one of the Russian Navy's most advanced vessels, plunging to the Barents Sea floor on August 12, 2000.

Officials have long concluded the first explosion in the Kursk's bow was caused by a practice torpedo, but opinions differ on what triggered that explosion. Most experts believe it was caused by a flaw in the torpedo, but officials say it could have been a collision with a Second World War mine.

The idea of a collision with another submarine has been advocated by some officials, including deputy premier Ilya Klebanov, who said this week that there could have been an "external impact" on the Kursk.

Russian submarines played cat-and-mouse games with American submarines in the Cold War era, and the Barents Sea exercises last year were monitored by the United States and Britain which operate submarines in the area.

Both Washington and London deny their boats were involved in the disaster.

More in this section

IE_logo_newsletters

Select your favourite newsletters and get the best of Irish Examiner delivered to your inbox