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 Submarines and Underwater Rescue

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Triceratops
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PostSubject: Submarines and Underwater Rescue   Wed 22 Nov 2017, 11:39

The Argentinian submarine ARA San Juan has now been missing for 7 days after reporting a major electrical failure.
The oxygen supply in the boat will now be at critical levels, and, if she is not found soon, will result in the death of her entire crew.

ARA San Juan;



Over the last 120 or so years since submarines came into existence, things have gone wrong.

This thread is to examine some of these incidents, and how rescues and rescue equipment has evolved.
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PostSubject: Re: Submarines and Underwater Rescue   Wed 22 Nov 2017, 15:12

Link to Davis Submerged Escape Apparatus:

DSEA

wiki:
The Davis Submerged Escape Apparatus was the first or nearly the first rebreather to be made in quantity.

Adopted by the Royal Navy in 1929, DSEA was used with limited success to assist crew members to escape from several sunken submarines, for example HMS Poseidon in 1931, HMS Thetis in 1939 and HMS Perseus in 1941.

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PostSubject: Re: Submarines and Underwater Rescue   Thu 23 Nov 2017, 13:39

Cutaway of the McCann rescue bell adopted by the US Navy;



Rescue chamber in the water recovering survivors from the USS Squalus;



wiki:
Failure of the main induction valve caused the flooding of the aft torpedo room, both engine rooms, and the crew's quarters, drowning 26 men immediately. Quick action by the crew prevented the other compartments from flooding. Squalus bottomed in 243 ft (74 m) of water.

Squalus was initially located by her sister ship, Sculpin. The two submarines were able to communicate using a telephone marker buoy until the cable parted. Divers from the submarine rescue ship Falcon began rescue operations under the direction of the salvage and rescue expert Lieutenant Commander Charles B. "Swede" Momsen, using the new McCann Rescue Chamber. The Senior Medical Officer for the operations was Dr. Charles Wesley Shilling. Overseen by researcher Albert R. Behnke, the divers used recently developed heliox diving schedules and successfully avoided the cognitive impairment symptoms associated with such deep dives, thereby confirming Behnke's theory of nitrogen narcosis. The divers were able to rescue all 33 surviving crew members from the sunken submarine. Four enlisted divers, Chief Machinist's Mate William Badders, Chief Boatswain's Mate Orson L. Crandall, Chief Metalsmith James H. McDonald and Chief Torpedoman John Mihalowski, were awarded the Medal of Honor for their work during the rescue and subsequent salvage. (The successful rescue of Squalus survivors is in marked contrast to the loss of Thetis in Liverpool Bay just a week later.

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PostSubject: Re: Submarines and Underwater Rescue   Fri 24 Nov 2017, 13:54

Things don't look good for the San Juan, with a large explosion reported near where she went missing.
ARA San Juan
.......................................................................................................

The Thetis incident, mentioned in the previous post.
wiki:
The first dive was attempted at about 14:00 on 1 June 1939. The submarine was too light to dive, so a survey of the water in the various tanks on board was made. One of the checks was whether the internal torpedo tubes were flooded.
Lieutenant Frederick Woods, the torpedo officer, opened the test cocks on the tubes. Unfortunately, the test cock on tube number 5 was blocked by some enamel paint so no water flowed out even though the bow cap was open. Prickers to clear the test cocks had been provided but they were not used. This combined with a confusing layout of the bow cap indicators — they were arranged in a vertical line with 5 at the bottom (2,1,4,3,6, and then 5) and the "Shut" position for tube 5 on the dial was the mirror image of tube 6 above it — led to the inner door of the tube being opened. The inrush of water caused the bow of the submarine to sink to the seabed 150 ft (46 m) below the surface. How the outer door (bow cap) to Tube 5 became open to the sea is a question that will probably never be answered, Woods maintained that until at least 10 minutes before he opened the tube all the indicators were at "Shut".
An indicator buoy was released and smoke candle fired. By 16:00, Grebe Cock was becoming concerned for the safety of Thetis and radioed HMS Dolphin submarine base at Gosport. A search was immediately instigated. Although the stern remained on the surface, only three RN personnel (Lieutenant Frederick Woods, Captain Harry Oram and Leading Stoker Walter Arnold) and one Cammell Laird man (Fitter Frank Shaw) escaped before the rest were overcome by carbon dioxide poisoning caused by the crowded conditions, the increased atmospheric pressure and a delay of 20 hours before the evacuation started. Ninety-nine lives were lost in the incident: 51 crew members, 26 Cammell Laird employees, 8 other naval officers, 7 Admiralty overseeing officers, 4 Vickers-Armstrong employees, 2 caterers and a Mersey pilot. The crew waited before abandoning the vessel until it had been discovered by the destroyer Brazen, which had been sent to search for it and which indicated her presence by dropping small explosive charges into the water.

In order to effect an escape from the stricken vessel, the escaping crew were required to enter the submarine’s only escape chamber, which can only accommodate one person at a time. As the pressure outside the submarine is greater than the pressure inside, this must be equalised before the outer door of the escape chamber is opened. The escape chamber is flooded with the occupant having to wait until the chamber is completely full of water. Only then will the pressure within the escape chamber be equal to the outside sea pressure.

In the case of HMS Thetis, 4 members of the ship’s company, three RN personnel (Lieutenant Woods, Captain Oram and Leading Stoker Arnold) and one Cammell Laird’s employee (Fitter Shaw) successfully used the escape chamber. During the 5th attempt to escape the occupant of the chamber panicked and tried to open the outer escape hatch before the chamber had completely flooded. As a result, the increased pressure outside the submarine caused an in-rush of sea water, thus drowning the escapee. Because the outer escape hatch remained partially open it rendered the escape chamber inoperative, preventing the escape of any other crew members.
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PostSubject: Re: Submarines and Underwater Rescue   Sat 25 Nov 2017, 18:23

Part of the tragedy of the sinking of HMS Thetis was that she remained afloat with her stern clear of the water and with rescue vessels in attendance, but still only four men escaped.



Thetis was salvaged and in 1940 was recommissioned as HMS Thunderbolt, and then served in the Mediterranean until sunk a second time in 1943.
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PostSubject: Re: Submarines and Underwater Rescue   Mon 27 Nov 2017, 13:12

Unlike the Thetis, the post war loss of HMS Affray is shrouded in mystery. Even to this day the exact cause of her loss is unknown, a faulty schnorkel tube is a possibility.
It was two months after her disappearance that Affray was found. No recovery was possible because of the depth and currents at her sinking and she is now a classified protected site.
The search for Affray included a new piece of equipment, namely an underwater television camera developed by Marconi Siebe-Gorman.
The link has two images of Affray taken by the camera.

Affray sinking

Pathe film of the Marconi camera:

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PostSubject: Re: Submarines and Underwater Rescue   Mon 27 Nov 2017, 23:44

The sinking of K13 and the subsequent rescue - at a time when few rescue devices existed - is a true epic.
https://www.royalnavy.mod.uk/news-and-latest-activity/news/2015/january/29/150129-hmnb-clyde-memorial-k13
One result - the number 13 has never been used for any subsequent RN sub.
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PostSubject: Re: Submarines and Underwater Rescue   Tue 28 Nov 2017, 01:37

Good to see you here again, Gil.  If they take the number out of commission for disasters, there might not be many numbers left.  Though NZers wouldn't expect Flight 901 to be re-used for flights to Antartica, that being the flight number of the Erebus disaster which killed more than 200 people on a tourist flight.  Not a submarine, of course. We had more the opposite here with German submarines sinking several ships around the coast of NZ during WWII.
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PostSubject: Re: Submarines and Underwater Rescue   Tue 28 Nov 2017, 13:45

Glad to see you back, Gil.

Reuters are saying the San Juan reported sea water entering and causing short circuiting of her electrics.


The K-Class submarines. Nicknamed the Kalamity class as there was always something happening with these boats.

K-Class submarines

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PostSubject: Re: Submarines and Underwater Rescue   Tue 28 Nov 2017, 14:44

Newspaper article from 1911 about the sinking of the German submarine U-3:

U-3 Sinking

the escape of the crew was facilitated by the Draeger breathing apparatus. There is a short history of Draeger in this link and a bit more detail about the U-3:

Draeger History

The Pluviose mentioned in the newspaper article was a French submarine lost in 1910.

wiki:
On the afternoon of 26 May 1910 Pluviôse was cruising off Calais when she was involved in a collision with the packet boat Pas de Calais. Pluviôse sank with the loss of all hands, 27 men. The vessel was later raised and repaired, though she was not returned to front-line service, being disarmed and used for compression tests.
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PostSubject: Re: Submarines and Underwater Rescue   Tue 28 Nov 2017, 15:05

@Triceratops wrote:
Glad to see you back, Gil.

Reuters are saying the San Juan reported sea water entering and causing short circuiting of her electrics.


The K-Class submarines. Nicknamed the Kalamity class as there was always something happening with these boats.

K-Class submarines

The raised "swan" bow was a later fitting - to enable them to surface more quickly in an emergency. No sub really made a go of steam propulsion until Nautilus (unless you class Walther turbines as "steam") and the whole "fleet submarine" idea was a chimaera.
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PostSubject: Re: Submarines and Underwater Rescue   Wed 29 Nov 2017, 12:26

The Battle of May Island;

May Island 1918

Footage of a K-Class submarine, complete with receding funnels:

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