Loss of 'USS Thresher' Remembered 50 Years On

Press Release
Sunday, April 07, 2013
USS Thresher: Photo credit USN

Family members & dignatories join in Portsmouth, Maine, to remember the loss on sea trials of the nuclear-powered attack submarine.

On April 10, 1963, Thresher began post-overhaul trials following lengthy testing and throughout evaluation of her many new technological features and weapons after her commissioning in August 1961.

USS Thresher was built at Portsmouth Naval Shipyard, Kittery, Maine, as the lead ship of a class of 3700-ton nuclear-powered attack submarines.

On that fateful day in 1963 Thresher began post-overhaul trials following lengthy testing and throughout evaluation of her many new technological features and weapons after her commissioning in August 1961.

Thresher transited with the submarine rescue ship Skylark (ASR 20) to an area approximately 220 miles east of Cape Cod and started deep-diving tests. Fifteen minutes after reaching her assigned test depth, Thresher informed Skylark of difficulties. Garbled transmissions indicated things were going wrong. Suddenly, listeners in Skylark heard a noise “like air rushing into an air tank” and then silence.

Efforts to reestablish contact with Thresher failed. A search group was formed to locate the submarine. Rescue ship Recovery (ARS 43) retrieved bits of debris, including gloves and bits of internal insulation. Photographs taken by bathyscaph Trieste proved the submarine had broken up, claiming all hands on board.

Thresher was officially declared lost April 12, 1963.


 

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