Rescue crews managed to loop cables under the structure trapping a mini-submarine deep in the Pacific Ocean today and will try to lift the vessel closer to the surface, Russian navy spokesman Captain Igor Dygalo said.
The effort came as British and US rescue crews with robotic undersea vehicles raced to reach the site of the accident that trapped seven Russian sailors in the vessel under the sea off the Kamchatka Peninsula, their air supply dwindling.
Two ships cast a loop beneath the objects trapping the mini-submarine, and rescuers were hoping to lift it to a fraction of its depth of 190 metres (625ft) to allow divers to continue the rescue operation, Dygalo said by telephone.
An earlier attempt to haul the vessel to shallower waters for the same purpose failed when cables detached after pulling it some 60 metres. Officials say the mini-sub is too deep for divers to reach or for the stranded crew to swim out on their own.
The Russian submarine, which had been participating in a combat training exercise, got caught on an underwater antenna assembly that is part of Russia’s coastal monitoring system and is anchored with a weight of about 60 tons, according to news reports. Officials said the sub’s propeller initially became ensnared in a fishing net.