Bodies of Kursk crew buried in their home cities, one year after submarine's sinking

Tuesday, November 6th 2001, 12:00 am
By: News On 6

MOSCOW (AP) _ Nine bodies removed from the wreckage of the Kursk nuclear submarine were buried Tuesday in their home cities in ceremonies evoking painful memories of the disaster more than a year ago.

Many of the sailors came from the western city of Kursk, namesake of the submarine, and eight bodies were buried there Tuesday. Another sailor was buried in the Volga River city of Nizhny Novgorod.

The Kursk exploded and sank on Aug. 12, 2000, during naval maneuvers in the Barents Sea, killing its entire crew of 118.

The submarine was lifted from the Barents Sea floor by a Dutch consortium in a $60 million salvage effort and carried to a dry dock last month.

Investigators have pulled 56 bodies from the Kursk since it was raised, and 50 of them have been identified. Another 12 bodies were removed by divers during an operation last year.

Funeral services have been held around the country for the sailors whose bodies were recovered. Northern Fleet chief Adm. Vyacheslav Popov and the widow of the Kursk's captain, Gennady Lyachin, attended the funeral ceremonies in Kursk.

Northern Fleet chief prosecutor Vladimir Mulov said there was little hope of finding more bodies in the maze of mangled metal in the submarine's bow.

The search through the Kursk's carcass was repeatedly suspended because of the need to remove torpedo warheads that were blown into the Kursk's second and third compartment by the blasts.

Specialists found and removed 330 pounds of explosives Sunday and another 550 pounds Monday, the ITAR-Tass news agency reported Tuesday.

Investigators expect that a study of the wreck will help determine what detonated a torpedo in the vessel's bow, causing the sinking.

Next year, the navy plans to raise fragments of the Kursk's bow, which was sawed off and left on the seabed because of fears it could break off and destabilize the lifting.