The survival of seven sailors trapped in a Russian submarine deep beneath the sea appears now to hinge on help from Britain and the US. Both have special underwater vehicles on their way to the accident site off Russia’s Pacific coast. With other rescue attempts having so far failed, the situation is critical, as Britain’s rescue team leader, Commander Ian Riches explained: “I think it’s all very much in the lap of the gods. I would like to say that we can definitely do it. What worries me now is that I know we are running out of time because I know there is a shortage of air on board the Russian rescue vehicle right now.”
It is thought the equipment will only get to the site off the far eastern Kamchatka peninsula early this evening and that could be too late. It is not clear how much air the sailors have left, some say it could have already run out. It is also not known how the sub got stuck some 190 metres on the ocean bed. There are reports it became ensnared in a fishing net or in a large underwater antenna. The drama unfolding is reminiscent of the Kursk tragedy five years ago where all 118 men on board died. The sailor’s families can only hope that this time it will be different as they continue with the long agonising wait for news of their loved ones.