VLADIVOSTOK, August 5 (RIA Novosti, Anatoly Ilyukhov) - The seven-member crew of a Russian bathyscaphe (a deep-sea observation vessel) that sank near the Kamchatka Peninsula (Russia's Far East) is alive and well, a spokesman for the Russian Navy Pacific Fleet said.
Alexander Kosolapov said the navy was conducting a major rescue operation, involving nine ships from the Pacific Fleet, to hoist the bathyscaphe from its depth of 190 meters. The bathyscaphe's oxygen reserves will last 24 hours.
Experts presume several reasons for the accident, including the vessel's contact with an unknown submerged object, such as a cable, the spokesman said.
The accident took place in Berezovaya Bay, 75 kilometers north of Petropavlovsk-Kamchatsky, the administrative center of the Kamchatsky region. The bathyscaphe is 13.5 meters long and 5.7 meters wide.