For background see: Kursk

Divers have recently managed to cut a hole in the side of the Kursk and have started retrieving bodies from within. They found a note on one of the first four bodies which was written by this man, Lieutenant-Captain Kolesnikov (27), after the Kursk sank. The Russian navy have released extracts from the note, saying that the rest was made up of personal messages for his family. It is not clear what order these fragments were written in or how much is missing, but I will include what bits I can.

"All the crew from the sixth, seventh and eighth compartments went over to the ninth. There are 23 people here. We made this decision as a result of the accident. None of us can get to the surface"

"I am writing blindly"

Compartments on the submarine were numbered from the front to the back, so the note shows that these 23 men managed to move back along the submarine, which suffered two explosions towards the front, where the torpedo tubes are situated.

Compartment nine is the one where the emergency hatch is located.

Early reports that came out shortly after the disaster suggested that divers could hear tapping coming from inside the submarine. It was later stated that this was likely to have been equipment settling and that all the sailors had died instantly. Thanks to the efforts of this brave man we now know this wasn't true.

There is dispute as to whether a date was included, with some sources saying he wrote this on August 12, 2000. He included a time: 13:15 and the numbers 13 and 5 appear, but without explanation. He would have had to write in complete darkness because all power was lost in the accident.

All 118 sailors aboard the Kursk died, including Lt. Dmitry. R. Kolesnikov.

I have recently been able to get hold of more details of the note and will quote:

"15:45. It's dark to write here, and I'm trying to write blindly. It seems we have no chance, no more than 10-20 percent. I hope that at least someone will read this."

"Here is a list of the crew who are in the ninth compartment and will try to get out. Greetings to everyone, don't lose hope."

Russian officials did not release the names of the people that he listed. However, they did identify three further bodies that were recovered from the wreckage of the Kursk around the same time.

Sources: BBC News, CNN, Associated Press, Reuters, Metro (London)

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