San Francisco submarine’s officers faulted in fatal crash

Publish date: March 16, 2005

Navy investigators have found that the officers on a nuclear submarine failed to take into account danger signs before the vessel smashed into an undersea mountain Jan. 8, The New York Times reported.

Crew members on the submarine, the San Francisco, did not look at some navigational charts of the South Pacific that might have suggested more caution, Navy officers said in interviews last week. The sailors also should have checked the water depth more frequently and should not have been travelling so fast, the officials said.

One sailor was killed and 98 were injured (60 were injured according to earlier reports) when the submarine crashed into the mountain 360 miles south-east of Guam. The Navy has said the mountain was not marked on the charts, but investigators found that several charts showed other possible hazards and had inconsistencies that should have prompted greater caution. The submarine’s captain, Cmdr. Kevin Mooney, has been replaced, and Navy officials said other officers could be disciplined. The accident crushed the vessel’s bow. Repairs could cost up to $100 million, The New York Times reported.