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Saturday, 27 October, 2001, 17:09 GMT 18:09 UK
First pictures inside charred Kursk
The charred debris of the Kursk, featured on Russian NTV Channel
The temperature soared to 8,000C as fire raged
Caroline Wyatt

The Russian prosecutor's office has released the first pictures of the damage inside the submarine the Kursk.

After looking at the wreckage, Russian Prosecutor-General Vladimir Ustinov described what happened inside the compartments as "hell".

Those who think there was a possibility to save our sailors should know that there was no such possibility

Prosecutor-General Vladimir Ustinov
So far 19 bodies have been recovered, and the bodies of six of those sailors will be flown to their home towns on Saturday for burial at the request of their families.

The pictures show the charred insides of the Kursk, a mass of twisted rusting metal.

It is all that remains of the interior of Russia's most sophisticated nuclear submarine.

Russian prosecutor, Vladimir Ustinov by wreckage of the Kursk
Vladimir Ustinov: What happened inside was "hell"
The only compartment still more or less intact is the sixth, which houses the Kursk's nuclear reactors and its 22 Granit cruise missiles.

There is still no explanation for the explosions which sank the Kursk, although experts examining the wreckage say they have not ruled out something as simple as a short circuit.

'No chance'

After inspecting the damage, Mr Ustinov said there was less than a minute and a half between the two blasts.

He said that many of the crew would have died of carbon monoxide poisoning in the fire which raged through the first compartments at temperatures of up to 8,000C.

At the same time, water began to seep through the entire submarine, filling it within eight hours of the explosion.

The prosecutor said there would have been no chance to save the men on board.

And he said it was clear from the handwriting on the notes from those who survived the initial explosions that conditions had deteriorated rapidly.

 WATCH/LISTEN
 ON THIS STORY
The BBC's Daniel Boettcher
"High technology reduced to twisted, rusted wreckage"
The Kursk submarine accident

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26 Oct 01 | Europe
23 Oct 01 | Europe
08 Apr 04 | Europe
22 Oct 01 | Scotland
11 Oct 01 | UK
07 Aug 01 | Science/Nature
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