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HOW DID THE SCORPION REALLY SINK?

At first the Navy thought the 1968 sinking of the attack submarine Scorpion came about from a Russian surprise assault. Later investigation pointed to a "hot run" torpedo becoming active in the torpedo room and then detonating, which blew up the rest of the bow compartment much like the Kursk suffered years later.

A new investigation, by amateur engineers, leads a different direction.

It turns out that one of the things found on the bottom in the wreckage of the Scorpion was a sailor wearing a life jacket. On the after deck of the hull, the door to a deck winch was opened.

These two pieces of data make the Russian attack theory and the internal torpedo explosion theory invalid. After all, in a surprise Russian attack, no one would be loitering topside when the submarine was submerged. And if Scorpion had a hotrun, she would not be surfaced tinkering on the outside of the hull, she'd be turning the ship to shutdown the torpedo's "anti-circular run" interlock or jettisoning the malfunctioning torpedo out a torpedo tube.

So what did happen that fits the fact of the man in the lifejacket?

How about this – the shaft on the Skipjack class submarines tended to fail. Shafts shearing off on other boats in the class lead us to believe it could have happened to Scorpion.

Had the shaft failed, what would have happened? Water would have come into the engineroom at the shaft seals. The crew would have emergency blown to the surface and inflated the emergency boot seal at the hole in the after bulkhead.

But with water still coming in, the boat would have settled by the stern, taking in more water. The air banks would have been empty after the first emergency blow, so staying on the surface would be critical.

But with the boat angling up from the flooding, eventually the shaft could fall completely out of the hull, opening up an 18" hole. There would be no surviving that.

It is thought that Scorpion's shaft sheared and the screw moved backward a few feet. Water came pouring in the shaft seals. The control room's officer of the deck emergency blew to the surface. On the surface, Scorpion continued to take on water and settled by the stern. The captain ordered a deck detail topside to attempt to toss a line around the screw and winch it forward so that the shaft would come further into the hull and slow the leakage.

But as the deck crew frantically worked, the angle increased, the screw and after shaft fell out of the ship, the 18" hole opened up, and Scorpion immediately sank to her death, dragging the hapless sailor in his lifejacket with her.

Today the shaft and screw lie half buried in the sandy bottom of the Atlantic. A new expedition could examine the shaft and see if this indeed was what doomed the Scorpion.

The Navy Department is not keen on devoting resources to the investigation of a 35-year old sinking. Still, finding this out may make the families realize peace and it will close the book on an old mystery.

For more information, contact fellow Hammerhead shipmate Paul Boyne at paboyne@cox.net. And visit the web group site at: http://groups.yahoo.com/group/USS_Scorpion_SSN-589/files/

The email address of the user group is:

USS_Scorpion_SSN-589@yahoogroups.com

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MORE! On EMERGENCY DEEP

EMERGENCY DEEP:
First in an electrifying new series from “A MASTER RIVALING TOM CLANCY.”

--Publishers Weekly

U.S. Navy submarine commander Peter Vornado is at the top of his game in underwater warfare when a devastating illness takes him out of the service and almost to the grave. Without duty, honor, or something to fight for, his life is as good as over.

But the CIA needs a man like Vornado…

A terrorist cabal has acquired a scrapped Soviet sub from the Cold War -- a technologically advanced failure still able to outrun any torpedo or enemy vessel and strike at will. With a nuclear payload, it will enable them to strike directly at Israeland throw the world into chaos. All that remains is to modernize the sub with the latest technology.

Only one man can infiltrate the group, take the helm, and stop a holocaust -- a man who has already stared down death, and is ready to do battle once more…

“Compelling and visionary. DiMercurio’s characters run as deep as his submarines themselves!”

--Joe Buff, author of Crush Depth and Thunder in the Deep

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terminalrun.com
Michael DiMercurio
Princeton, New Jersey
E-mail:
readermail@terminalrun.com

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