A Chinese nuclear submarine crew is believed to be dead after its vessel was ensnared in a trap in the Yellow Sea that was reportedly intended for British sub-surface vessels.
Citing a highly-classified United Kingdom report, the Daily Mail reported that the death of the 55 Chinese sailors was the result of a catastrophic failure of the submarine’s oxygen systems.
“Intelligence reports that on 21st of August there was an onboard accident whilst carrying out a mission in the Yellow Sea,” the U.K. report reads, according to the Mail. “Incident happened at 08.12 local resulting in the death of 55 crew members: 22 officers, 7 officer cadets, 9 petty officers, 17 sailors. Dead include the captain Colonel Xue Yong-Peng.”
“Our understanding is death caused by hypoxia due to a system fault on the submarine,” the report continued. “The submarine hit a chain and anchor obstacle used by the Chinese Navy to trap US and allied submarines. This resulted in systems failures that took six hours to repair and surface the vessel. The onboard oxygen system poisoned the crew after a catastrophic failure.”
China has officially denied the incident took place and apparently did not request international assistance for its disabled submarine. The Mail reported that Beijing has called speculation surrounding the incident “completely false,” and noted that Taiwan has also denied reports.
A British submariner who spoke with the Mail said it is “plausible” that the event described in the classified report occurred and said it’s doubtful the Chinese would have requested international assistance “for obvious reasons.”
“If they were trapped on the net system and the submarine's batteries were running flat, then eventually the air purifiers and air treatment systems could have failed,” the submariner said. “Which would have reverted to secondary systems and subsequently and plausibly failed to maintain the air, which led to asphyxia or poisoning. We have kit which absorbs CO2 and generates oxygen in such a situation. It is probable that other nations do not have this kind of tech.”
According to Naval News, the Chinese Type 093 submarines are the Chinese navy’s most powerful attack submarine. The vessels are reportedly 351 feet long and armed with an estimated load of 22 torpedo-sized weapons. Type 093s are among China’s more modern submarines and entered service in the last 15 years, according to the Mail. The relatively large size of the submarine may afford more space for noise-reducing features, Naval News reported, noting the quietness of the design is classified information.
The nuclear submarine is believed to have gone done off the coast of China’s Shandong Province.
Nicole Wells, a Newsmax general assignment reporter covers news, politics, and culture. She is a National Newspaper Association award-winning journalist.
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