For background see: The Russian sub stuck at the bottom of the Barents Sea
Lieutenant Rashid Aryapov's body was recovered from the Kursk a few days after it sank in tragic and mysterious circumstances. Russian officials said only that his body had been identified, but more recently available information suggests that he survived the initial accident and died in the next hours or days.
Officials released snippets of a note written by Lt. Dmitry. R. Kolesnikov shortly after the event, which contained a list of those that had survived. However it now appears that this was not the only note written by one of these doomed men.
Until yesterday the details of a second note were kept secret, but we now know that Lt. R. Aryapov was also able to record information, even under the extreme duress of the situation. No directly quotable material is available, but officials state that his note said the catastrophic explosion was caused by the misfiring of a practice torpedo.
In a news story of this scale it is often easy to forget about the individuals involved, but something about the Kursk sinking brought us very close to these men. I believe that their ability to tell us what was happening to them, even when they were staring death in the face, is the mark of true bravery.
Sources: BBC News, CNN, Associated Press, Reuters, Metro (London)