A nuclear submarine of the Royal Navy of the United Kingdom travelled to dangerous oceanic depths due to a huge malfunction that sent it into an endless dive. The vessel was righted moments before the crew got crushed by underwater pressure.
The decades-old Vanguard class vessel had 140 crew members as well as a Trident ballistic missile, and was operating in the Atlantic Ocean at the time of the incident, according to a report in The Sun.
Its descent was only halted once engineers working at the rear of the vessel noticed the actual depth on a second gauge, which was working correctly, and raised the alarm.
The Sun quoted a source saying, “Technically, the sub was still at a depth where we know it can operate, but if it ever has to go that deep the whole crew is piped to action-stations. That hadn’t happened. The sub wasn’t supposed to be there, and it was still diving. And if it had carried on going, it doesn’t really bear thinking about.”
The submarine was preparing for patrol duty when the dials that were indicating its depth stopped working, leaving commanders to think it was level. But in reality, the vessel was still diving.
A submarine carrying nuclear weapons on patrol was not something new and has been happening since 1969 as part of the UK’s continuous at sea deterrent. There are four Vanguard class submarines that are used in the role on rotational basis.
The Navy told The Sun in a statement, “We do not comment on operations. Our submarines continue to be deployed globally, protecting national interests.”