Tuesday, May 31, 2005
This press release from U.S. Pacific Fleet describes the return of the San Fran to Guam, and announces that the name of the Sailor killed in the accident as MM2(SS) Joseph Ashley of Akron, Ohio. To my eye, it looks like the ship is riding down in the bow; that is, the front end of the ship looks like it isn't riding as high as normal. (Here's a picture of the USS Portsmouth, like the San Francisco a non-VLS Los Angeles Class submarine; notice the bow is riding much higher.) They could have damaged a vent valve on one of the forward ballast tanks, resulting in one of the three forward tanks possibly partially filling. Another possibility I've seen discussed is that the sonar dome may have flooded, but the boat really looks to be riding a lot lower forward that it would have if that happened. On the other hand, she might just have gone over a small wave; we'd need to see more than one picture to make sure this one isn't just anomolous.
Update: Here's another good update from Guam. The SubPac spokesman here comes fairly close to completely ruling out a collision with another sub, but leaves a little wiggle room (the boat struck "something topographical").
Staying at PD...