The Loss of the Thresher
In August 1963, the research vessel USS Trieste recovered the segment of brass pipe shown in this photograph from the mid-Atlantic wreck of the USS Thresher (SSN-593). She had sunk on 10 April 1963 in 8,400 feet (2,600 m) of water with the loss of 129 lives. The apparent cause, never proven, began with a leak in seawater piping that escalated into a failure of the air-ballast system and an uncontrolled dive. The Thresher was the first of two U.S. nuclear-powered submarines lost at sea. The second was the USS Scorpion (SSN-589), lost at sea in May 1968. Although propulsion system malfunction has been ruled out, the cause of neither has been determined. Courtesy U.S. Naval Institute

Back to: Homepage / Operating a Nuclear Submarine / Submarine Power & Propulsion

Copyright © 2000, The National Museum of American History