Two UK sailors killed in submarine accident

Wednesday, March 21, 2007

HMS Tireless in the Arctic, 2004.

The UK Ministry of Defence (MoD) confirmed in a news release, March 21, 2007, that two Royal Navy crew members had been killed in an accident aboard nuclear submarine HMS Tireless earlier in the day. The next of kin for both men have been informed.

Another submariner had been injured and was airlifted to a United States military hospital for treatment. His injuries are not considered life-threatening.

The accident occurred at 4:20 a.m., March 21, on board HMS Tireless, a Trafalgar class submarine, during a joint US-UK exercise in the Arctic.

The MoD suggested that the accident involved a piece of air-purification equipment in the forward section of the submarine. The submarine was not in danger and its nuclear reactor was unaffected. HMS Tireless is a hunter-killer submarine and does not carry nuclear missiles.

HMS Tireless was submerged under the ice cap at the time of the incident. The crew brought the submarine to surface quickly through the ice.

The Tireless was fitted, in 2001, with an update to the piece of air-purification machinery thought to have failed. As a precaution, the MoD is restricting its use on other boats until safety checks have been carried out.

"I very much regret that this incident has occurred and my thoughts go out to the family and friends of the men who have lost their lives," said Admiral Sir James Burnell-Nugent, Commander-in-Chief Fleet.

He added, "I also wish to pay tribute to the crew of HMS Tireless that this incident has been dealt with and contained so professionally."

It was not stated what the official cause of death was.