On This Day…

Nuclear Submarine Sinks

April 7, 1989

A Soviet nuclear powered submarine carrying two nuclear torpedoes catches fire and sinks about 150 miles (241 km) north of Norway. Forty-two crew members were killed. While at a depth of at a depth of 1,099 feet (335 meters) an electrical fire started in the engine room. Even though the watertight doors were shut, the fire burned through bulkhead cable penetrations. The nuclear reactor scrammed and propulsion was lost. The emergency ballast tank was blown and the submarine surfaced with most of the crew abandoning ship. Several hours later, the submarine sank to a depth of about 1 mile (1.6 km) where it still rests with its nuclear reactor and warheads. Forty-two of the 69 crewmen, including the commanding officer, died in the accident. Others died later from having inhaled toxic gases.