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The Remarkable Survival of the USS CHOPPER (SS 342) from a Depth Excursion to 1000 Feet

On 11 February, 1969, the USS CHOPPER (SS 342), a Guppy 1A diesel submarine, was operating submerged with the USS HAWKINS (DD 873) off the coat of Cuba in waters with and average depth of 1800 fathoms (10,800 feet).

The linked document describes what happended to CHOPPER when all ac power was lost. CHOPPER.reached a maximum depth of approximately 1011 feet in the bow section, approximately 720 feet in the after section with an angle greater than 75 degrees down. Maximum angle on the way up was 82 degrees. CHOPPER's test-depth was 400-feet. Half the length of the submarine broached.

Although CHOPPER survived, the pressure-hull was so badly distorted by pressure that it never put to sea again.

If you do not read the text of the linked document, at least look at the the drawings that show the attitude of the CHOPPER at various times during the event. They are chilling. (Looks like the text may not be readable anyway.)

Re: The Remarkable Survival of the USS CHOPPER (SS 342) from a Depth Excursion to 1000 Feet

Bruce, text was readable. I bet that was the longest 2 min period in that crews history!
Really makes you see how fast things can go bad.
I wonder if they pulled into Key West after this occurred ?

Re: The Remarkable Survival of the USS CHOPPER (SS 342) Reply to Stephen Lechowicz

Stephen:

Assume CHOPPER returned to Key West; don't know that for a fact.

Several years after the event, I discussed it with CDR Don Forbes,
the CO at the time.

He told me the stern went to 1020 feet which does not agree with what
appears to be an accurate summary of what happened.

The event also appeared to have been the end of Forbes career.

Bottom line: the complexity of what actually happened shows just how
impossible it would have been to reconstruct why it happened had the
crew not survived.

i doubt even acoustics would have solved this one.

The term "starving dog" was used to describe the appearance of the
pressure-hull between frames.

Bruce

Re: The Remarkable Survival of the USS CHOPPER (SS 342) Reply to Stephen Lechowicz

I was stationed at COSL with OT2 Steve Stevens in the early 70's. He was an ex diesel boat guy and based on specific details he gave us I think he was on Chopper during this episode. Anybody know whatever happened with Steve?

Re: The Remarkable Survival of the USS CHOPPER (SS 342) Reply to Stephen Lechowicz

I wish I knew. I was stationed with Steve at COSL. What a character! I could regale you with plenty of sea stories about Steve but probably couldn’t share them in polite company!

Re: The Remarkable Survival of the USS CHOPPER (SS 342) Reply to Stephen Lechowicz

Rick, I always thought Steve might have suffered from oxygen deprivation while on diesel boats...crazy indeed! Sent you an email.

Re: The Remarkable Survival of the USS CHOPPER (SS 342) Reply to Stephen Lechowicz

My email addy was wrong, never got your email

Re: The Remarkable Survival of the USS CHOPPER (SS 342) Reply to Stephen Lechowicz

Rick, just tried again.

Re: The Remarkable Survival of the USS CHOPPER (SS 342) from a Depth Excursion to 1000 Feet

Passing through...was going to read the story, but link does not seem to work.

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