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5 submarines that have been lost in the ocean

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  • How many submarines have been lost at the bottom of the ocean?
  • From special missions to private expeditions: Learn about the origin of submersibles. 
  • Learn about 5 submarines that have been lost.

The list of submarines that have been lost in the ocean is long and includes numerous vessels from countries such as the US, Russia and China. They have the largest number of submarines, some of them even powered by nuclear reactors.

Throughout history, hundreds of accidents have occurred in which submersible crew members were lost, most of them belonging to the marine corps of their home country. Learn about five submarines that have imploded or sunk.

5. Submarines that have been lost: ARA San Juan

lost submarines

The Argentine Navy had a grim year in 2017, when 44 of its members were lost in an unfortunate accident aboard the ARA San Juan submarine, which disappeared on November 15 of that year. The ship was on a journey between Ushuaia and its base port, in Mar del Plata, when the controls on land lost all contact with the crew.

Despite efforts to locate the submarine, the rescue mission was called off, and Argentina declared its crew dead. A year later, the submersible was found at a depth of 900 meters, in the Atlantic. It is believed that it suffered a hull implosion and rapidly sank.

4. Kursk


The Kursk submarine was a ship belonging to the Russian Navy and represented one of the greatest disasters in maritime history. On August 12, 2000, this submarine suffered a catastrophic explosion, that led to its sinking, while it was carrying out a routine training mission.

One of the most tragic facts came to light during the rescue of the submersible, when the authorities realized that several of the sailors had survived the initial explosion, but that they had died from lack of oxygen a few hours later. This generated a great commotion not only in Russia, but in the rest of the world. A few years later a film was made about the tragedy.

3. Missing Submarines: USS Scorpion

lost submarines

The USS Scorpion, a submarine belonging to the United States Navy, was on a classified mission in the Atlantic Ocean on May 22, 1968, when it lost communications with land. Despite an exhaustive search, the ship was declared a total loss, and no survivors were found.

Although many years have passed, the theories surrounding this accident are still active. Some think that it was system failure but others say that the submarine could have collided with a Soviet ship, although this has never been verified. Five months after the disappearance of the USS Scorpion, the submarine was found in the Atlantic, at a depth of 3,000 meters.

2. USS San Francisco

maritime accident

The United States’ record of maritime accidents continued in the 2000s with the incident involving the USS San Francisco (SSN-711), an attack ship belonging to the United States Navy. In 2005 it collided with an underwater mountain that caused significant damage to its structure.

The speed at which the submersible was going, coupled with the violent collision with the underwater mountain, resulted in the death of a crew member and serious injuries to 98 members of the Navy. One of the positive consequences of this accident was an improvement in security protocols and a proposal to study the seabed in greater depth.

1. OceanGate’s Titan

ocean gate

The implosion of the experimental OceanGate Titan sub, has sparked discussions about experimental undersea missions involving civilians. In June 2023, the submersible lost contact with its base, leading to a days long search.

It was later revealed that shortly after the Titan lost communications, a catastrophic implosion occurred that killed all five of its crew, including Stockton Rush the CEO of OceanGate and main promoter of the expedition.

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