A Brief History
On August 12, 2000, during the first major Russian naval exercise since the break-up of the USSR, the Russian Oscar II class cruise missile sub, the Kursk, blew up and sank in the Barents Sea, taking all 118 men aboard to their deaths.
Another of the incidents we call “Naval Oops Moments” in which naval vessels are accidentally damaged or destroyed, the investigation into the sinking found that a torpedo defect caused the initial explosion and subsequent fire that caused a second, much larger explosion that sank the sub. The second explosion seems to have been multiple other torpedo warheads detonating.
Sadly, investigation showed 23 men survived the initial blast for about six hours until they tried to replace a potassium superoxide chemical oxygen cartridge which they dropped into water in the compartment they were in causing yet another explosion and fire, killing those remaining men.
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For more information, please see…
Burleson, Clyde. Kursk Down: The Shocking True Story of the Sinking of a Russian Nuclear Submarine. Grand Central Publishing, 2008.
Flynn, Ramsey. Cry from the Deep: The Sinking of the Kursk, the Submarine Disaster That Riveted the World and Put the New Russia to the Ultimate Test. HarperCollins e-books, 2011.
You can also watch video versions of this article on YouTube.