London: Dozens of sailors were overcome by heat exhaustion when temperatures rose dramatically on board a British nuclear submarine after a “catastrophic” air-conditioning failure.
Eight submariners were left in a “life-threatening condition” as temperatures on HMS Turbulent passed 60 degrees with 100 per cent humidity.
The previously undisclosed incident in the Indian Ocean has come to light three years later, after the commanding officer at the time gave a dramatic account of the crisis, saying that the situation had been so bad that he thought crew members were going to die.
Ryan Ramsey said: “I genuinely thought there was going to be a loss of life on board. People were going to die.”
The 44-year-old, who recently retired from the Royal Navy after 25 years’ service, said the extreme temperatures left crew “just collapsing everywhere, many at their work stations”.
The hunter-killer submarine was only three hours from Fujairah in the United Arab Emirates on May 26, 2011, when the incident took place.
The vessel had surfaced and Mr Ramsey was on the bridge when engineers told him the air conditioning plants had “catastrophically” failed. As he went below he was met by an “incredible blast of heat,” and the first casualties soon began to be taken ill.
Within hours many areas of the 78 metre-submarine had become makeshift sick bays, as 26 crew were taken ill. “We had casualties in the control room, the engine room, the bridge, the wardroom, cabins, and the toilets and showers. It was absolutely terrifying, and I’m not afraid to say I was scared,” he said.
“Walking around the boat I saw true fear in my crew’s eyes … we simply did not know how we were going to get through it.”
Full article: Submarine crew nearly cooked alive after system failure (The Sydney Morning Herald)