Accident to Chinese Submarine No.361 kills all its crew
On May the 3rd. 2003, Reuters reported that China was being unusually frank in reporting a Submarine accident in which all 70 of the crew had died. This disaster came about off the North East coast in Chinese territorial waters, but the cause was nor really disclosed.
Conjecture about this accident has suggested a gas leak, but the submarine has been towed back into port. One Military expert, from Taipai suggests that Submarine No. 361, a 20 year old diesel powered boat was an indigenous Ming Class Submarine, which usually carries about 9 Officers and 46 Sailors, and wonders why she carried an extra 15 crew members at the time of this accident.
One would think if it was a torpedo blowing up, that the Submarine would have sunk, but not so, as the boat was salvaged and towed home as reported, it seems possible that a poisonous gas leak eg. carbon monoxide may be to blame, but this is pure speculation.
The Chinese Navy is reported to run something like 90 Submarines in their underwater fleet, some locally built, and some from a Russian source, but many are quite old, going back many many years. Jane's Defence Weekly last year, reported that the Chines Navy had ordered 8 Kilo Class from Russia, to be delivered over 5 years and to cost $ 1.6 Billion.
We may never find out the cause of this accident causing 70 Chinese Submariners to die.
The attached photograph from the Melbourne Age today Wednesday the 7th. of May 2003, shows two of China's top leaders with relatives of the lost Sailors aboard Submarine No.361, it looks all very intact, and the mystery deepens!