This Swordfish Pierced The Hull Of A Deep Sea Submarine

This is Alvin, a famous US Navy deep sea submarine. It survived the extreme conditions of deep sea exploration looking for lost hydrogen bombs, surveying the Titanic, and exploring a hydrothermal vent for the first time in history.

But in 1967, it barely survived an encounter with a swordfish. The one sticking out of its hull.

Alvin — named after Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution scientist Allyn Vine — was built in 1964. It was one of the first manned deep sea submarines, a much better vehicle than the original Trieste bathyscaphe, which was too large and hard to manoeuvre.

Capable of reaching almost 63 per cent of the global ocean floor, Alvin became fully operational in July 20, 1965. After its first 1828m US Navy certification dive, the submarine started its run of 4440 dives across the world.

Its first dangerous mission was the search and rescue of a hydrogen bomb in the Mediterranean sea, off the coast of Palomares, Spain. The bomb fell into the sea after a B-52 collided with a tanker. Alvin and the Navy's CURV vehicle successfully retrieved it on April 7. Then Alvin had a complete overhaul at Cape Cod.

It was after the overhaul, in 1967, when Alvin got attacked by a swordfish at a depth of around 2,000 feet, during dive number 202 — somewhere around the Blake Plateau and Cape Charles, in the Bahamas. The pilots heard a big metallic noise, the whole submarine shook, and something penetrated the hull.

It was a dangerous situation, so the crew decided to get quickly back to the surface. When its mothership — 105-foot catamaran Lulu — lifted Alvin off the surface, they discovered this huge swordfish stuck in the hull.

It may seem impossible, but that's what happened. It is not that crazy — -according to marine biologist Rick Rosenthal, the producer of the documentary Superfish — these things are extremely aggressive and attack everything, including badass sharks. That's how these predators — which can weigh 700kg and move at 80km/h — have survived since prehistoric times.

But did this one survive?

He didn't. The crew cooked it for dinner. [Alvin and PBS via Fogonazos]


Comments

    The fish has just poked its 'sword' in a gap in the sub's shell. Its not like its hacked a whole in the side.

      They say it "penetrated" the hull, so that would probably indicate that gap just helped it get there.

        This is the DSV-2 ALVIN.
        1. There's a gap in the exterior casing there.
        2. There's no gap in the interior 'personnel sphere' with the exceptions of the portals and the access hatch which is at the top (this is on the under side of the sphere) , and is otherwise (virtually) a single 3 inch thick piece of steel. At 2,000 feet, there's about 870 psi of pressure trying to crush you, (about 60 atmospheres) any breach of the sphere at this depth would have killed the occupants, and the swordfish would have been sucked inside through the hole.
        3. This photo has been mirrored 180 degrees laterally from the original, but that's not important right now.
        4. If Giz REALLY wants to post about the Alvin (in the contemporary technical context), they should post about the refit (including an all new personnel sphere crafted from titanium, you know how incredibly amazingly difficult it is to do that!?). Yeah, they've upgraded it.
        5. I like submarines.

    Why are we reporting on something that happened in 1967?
    however cool it is, it's old news....

    Something doesn't seem right... The photo doesn't look like it is from 1967, but Wikipedia says that is when it happened

      That's what I was thinking... photo doesn't look that old.

        Looks like a shot from TV, see the icon in the lower right?

    It looks like a blowup toy.

      What kinda wierd freaky blowup..... wait... I dont wanna know...

    Yep the photo doesn't look like 1967...
    Winches swordfish and submersibles have evolved so much since then....
    (Probably submersibles have, but we don't usually get to see a lot of them)

    I find it amusing how children these days (and I'm hoping they're children, as that's the only reasonable excuse for not knowing) don't believe we had color photography back in 1967.

      You're a moron - no one said anything about not having colour photography...

      People just said the photo doesn't look old.

    Click on one of those links, one of the sites has video of a sub freeing a sward fish from a oil rig. I laughed we they pull it out and it goes straight back in.

    Are you an idiot? I'm 18 and I know that they had colour photography before 1967. In some cases much earlier than that. There were different ways to take colour photographs then too... This photo does look more high def that what try were capable of but still...they definantly had colour photography in 1967.
    /end rant.

    Looks like the image has been cleaned up. This one was from the linked site.
    http://www.whoi.edu/cms/images/dfino/2006/10/alvinhistory_swordfish_en_33095.jpg
    Grainy, and the mirror of the one in the article

      Though the image covers a slightly different area, so I wonder where this one was sourced.

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