On this date in naval history… January 27, 1961…
S-80 (NATO designation ‘Whiskey Class’) was a diesel-electric submarine of the Soviet Navy. Built at the Krasnoye Sormovo shipbuilding factory in Nizhny Novgorod, she was launched on 21 October 1950. After trials, she was commissioned into the Northern Fleet on 2 December 1952.
During the night of 26 January 1961, S-80 was operating in the Barents Sea at snorkel depth, on her diesel engines. When the boat dropped to snorkel depth, an automatic valve failed to close (due to icing up) and S-80 began taking on seawater. The diesel engines failed as seawater flooded their air intakes, and the boat sank to the ocean floor, 196 m below the surface of the Barents Sea.
Pressure at that depth crushed several compartments, killing most of the crew immediately. Those surviving in un-flooded aft compartments later perished when escape attempts failed. Their fate remained unknown for seven and a half years.
On 23 June 1968, the wreck of S-80 was discovered and she was subsequently raised (a special recovery ship – Carpathia – was built for the recovery of S-80) and brought to Zavalishin Harbor, where an appointed commission was tasked with determining the cause of S-80’s sinking. In late 1969, the commission’s findings were that equipment failure and crew errors had caused the sinking and subsequent loss of life of the entire crew of S-80… 68 officers and men.
Other Whiskey Class submarines –
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