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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

Father Gets Kursk Sailor's Last Note

The father of Dmitry Kolesnikov said Wednesday he has seen the note that was found on his son’s body in the sunken Kursk submarine and it contains no further clues about how long he and 22 other sailors stayed alive after the accident.

"The last figure that the note contains is 12 Aug. 15:45, but what was written in the darkness later contains no times or dates," Roman Kolesnikov said by telephone from St. Petersburg.

He said the navy did not create any obstacles for him or his family to obtain a copy of the note from the government commission investigating the Kursk accident.

"I have seen it [the original]! I have held it in my hands! I made a copy of it for myself," said Kolesnikov, a navy officer who once served in the submarine fleet and now teaches at the Kuznetsov Naval Academy.

But only Tuesday, Dmitry’s wife and mother had complained that they had not been allowed to see the note, recovered Oct. 26.

"My daughter-in-law, Olga, was literally catching the authorities by the sleeve to figure out something about the letter," Irina Kolesnikova said in St. Petersburg. Click here to read our Special Report on The Kursk Tragedy.

"They said that for now the letter is being used in the investigation and they will give it to us later. Meanwhile, I think he did a big thing in writing that note. … And we have a right to that note," she said.

Olga Kolesnikova said she had been told only generally about the private part of her husband’s letter. "It said that he loved me and asked me not to suffer too much," she said. "He was also sending regards to his parents."

However, she confirmed that her father-in-law had been allowed to see the letter.

Roman Kolesnikov declined to read his son’s note over the telephone, saying the family has decided to make it public at the funeral on Thursday.

Dmitry Kolesnikov’s remains were flown to St. Petersburg on Tuesday. His father said the death certificate gives the cause of death as "poisoning with carbon monoxide fumes."

When it became clear that none of the 118 crew members remained alive, the navy had said it was likely they had died either in the initial explosion or shortly afterward of drowning.

But television reports on the day Norwegian divers first opened the hatch showed a long stream of air bubbling out of the submarine.

Dmitry Kolesnikov’s note said that 23 sailors who survived the initial explosions had moved to the ninth compartment and a few had attempted to use an escape hatch there.

On Wednesday, divers worked on the third compartment, the location of a rescue vehicle that was designed to carry seamen to the surface in case of emergency, naval officials said.

Only four of the 12 bodies recovered from the Kursk have been identified. Besides Kolesnikov, they are Lieutenant Alexander Brazhkin, Warrant Officer Viktor Kuznetsov and Warrant Officer Mikhail Bochkov, Interfax reported, citing their relatives.

Irina Titova contributed to this report from St. Petersburg.