Did You Know About This Harrowing Underwater Rescue After a Submarine Sank in New Hampshire?
It's always fascinating to read more about New Hampshire's history, and this writer recently learned of a harrowing underwater rescue that happened in Portsmouth over 80 years ago.
According to the Naval History and Heritage Command website, it all started on May 23, 1939, when the USS Squalus "suffered a catastrophic valve failure during a test dive off the Isle of Shoals." As a result, the submarine began to flood, sinking 240 feet down to the ocean floor. The National Medal of Honor Museum explained that 26 men were lost as a result of the flooding, while 33 others remained alive "in the forward compartments." Could you imagine how terrifying that must've been?
The New England Historical Society described the subsequent rescue efforts as a "39-hour ordeal." According to the NHHC, it was another submarine that eventually "lowered the newly developed McCann rescue chamber--a revised version of a diving bell...over the next 13 hours, all 33 survivors were rescued from the stricken submarine." It wasn't until months later in September when the USS Squalus itself was pulled out of the water.
Here are some pictures from the disaster, starting with the Squalus prior to the sinking:
This image, taken in August, shows the "blowing of salvage pontoons to lift Squalus off the sea bottom."
Finally, here's "the divers closing valves in salvage pontoons" once the submarine had been lifted from the ocean floor.
Speaking of New Hampshire's history, here are 10 of the most historic restaurants in the Granite State. How many have you visited?