The Kursk Disaster #Onthisday

This day marks 15 years since the tragedy which struck an Oscar-class submarine from Russia. Killing all 118 sailors, officers and contractors on board, the vehicle supposedly sank itself when a dummy torpedo caused a sequence of kerosene and peroxide explosions. This is a really sad event but it’s definitely an interesting one. There are several conspiracies surrounding this happening, possibly down to the fact it was a Russian naval submarine and not one from the West (everyone loves a good Russian conspiracy).

kursk

During a major exercise in the Barents Sea, located off the coasts of Norway and Russia, an explosion was noted by nearby ships however it was not registered to be a submarine for hours after the initial incident. Approximately two minutes after the first, a much larger explosion followed and was even recognised by seismographs in Alaska.

23 sailors survived the first explosion and moved across the ship to wait for rescue. However, due to poor preparation for disaster, the Russian military failed to send any form of assistance. A report on the accident told that these sailors managed to survive the sinking for up to six hours after the explosions. An update document was found in the wreckage of the ship, Captain Kolesnikov scrawling news of the situation. He wrote: “All personnel from compartments six, seven and eight have moved to the ninth. There are 23 of us here. We have made this decision as a result of the accident. None of us can get out.”K-141_Kursk_Russian_submarine

It is questionable whether those aboard the sinking sub could have been saved. Firstly, it was reported at the time that Vladimir Putin, recently elected President of Russia, refused to cut short his holiday to deal with the crisis. As well as this, Putin also refused naval assistance from Britain, France, Norway and the USA, claiming the incident was under control. In fact, it took the navy 16 hours to locate the ship and 15 more hours to lower any sort of rescue attempts.

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