Norwegian camera team captures images of submarine rescue operation



TRONDHEIM, Norway (CNN) -- A Norwegian freelance camera team has flown over the Barents Sea to capture the first images of the rescue operation of the Russian nuclear submarine stranded at the bottom.

The submarine, the Kursk, foundered on Sunday with 118 crewmen on board, Russian officials say.

"Of course, my heart was beating when I took these pictures," Anders Loberg, who shot the exclusive video footage, told CNN International.

The team captured images of a Russian cruiser and two other unidentified ships which are part of the flotilla ships in the rescue area.

The video showed three different ships, but pilot Sigurd Henriksen and Loberg said there were many other ships in the area, possibly up to 10 or 20. Russian officials have said they had 22 ships involved in the rescue operation.

Camera team braved threat of military attack

Henriksen said: "We were warned that we could be shot down by Russian ships if we intruded into that area. I did not know how real that warning was, but we did not want to take any chances."

One ship came towards them as they flew over. "We found the whole situation very uncomfortable," he added.

The pair flew into the Russian military's self-imposed restricted area to get the footage, flying as low as three metres (10 feet) above the water in order to avoid radar.

Henriksen and Loberg are Norwegian nationals, based in Bergen, Norway. The flight took off from Valdo, Norway and flew 370 km (200 nautical miles) to the rescue area, around 130 km (80 miles) northeast of Murmansk, Russia.