August 05, 2005
The Russian Navy (and before them, the Soviet Navy) has had a long and exciting history with their sub force, with a relatively large number of sunken submarines. You may remember a movie that came out a few years back called "K-19: The Widowmaker" starring Harrison Ford. That was based on the real-life Soviet K-19, which had an astonishing THREE incidents that involved loss of life amongst her crew, two of which involving her nuclear reactor.
I don't remember the movie mentioning the K-19's real nickname amongst the Soviet submarine community: HIROSHIMA. That'll give you some idea of what that sub's luck was like.
There were many others as well; the Yankee-class SSBN that sank in the Pacific Ocean (that the CIA eventually recovered part of using Howard Hughes' Glomar Explorer), another sub grounding on the rocks off the coast of Norway, and the infamous Kursk tragedy of a few years ago.
US, British, Japanese, and Russian rescue equipment are on the way to the scene. Hopefully, one of them'll get to the sub before air runs out for the seven souls on board.
The ocean is a dangerous place, at least as dangerous as outer space, yet tragedies such as this aren't as "exciting" as a Shuttle disaster. More commonplace, I suppose; more sailors, more submarines, fewer cameras. Yet the pressure of 600 feet of water will kill you just as dead (possibly deader, if possible) as vacuum will.
Good luck, guys.
Russian Sub Back Up Again!
The Brits were first on the scene with a Remotely Operated Vehicle, and they managed to use it to cut the cables the minisub was caught on. All seven crew were fine, if probably a little creeped out.
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