The nail-biting story of the Royal Navy’s race to save the crew of a trapped Russian submarine, with help from U.S. and Japanese rescue teams
On August 5, 2005, on a secret mission to an underwater military installation 30 miles off the coast of Kamchatka, Russian Navy submersible AS-28 ran into a web of cables and stuck fast. With 600 feet of freezing water above them, there was no escape for the seven crew—all they could do was wait as their air supply slowly dwindled. For more than 24 hours the Russian Navy tried to reach them. Finally, still haunted by the loss of the nuclear submarine Kursk five years before, they requested international assistance. On the other side of the world, the Royal Navy’s Submarine Rescue Service got the call: there was a sub down. With the expertise and specialist equipment available to them, the team had a chance to save the men, but Kamchatka was at the very limit of their range, and time was running out. As the Royal Navy prepared to deploy to Russia’s Pacific coast, rescue teams from the United States and Japan also scrambled to reach the area. The Russian crew shut down all nonessential systems, climbed into thick thermal suits to keep the bonechilling damp at bay, and waited, desperate to eke out the stale, thin air inside the pressure hull of their craft. But as the first of them began to drift in and out of consciousness, they knew the end was close, and they started writing their farewells. This is the extraordinary, edge-of-the-seat, real-life story of one of the most dramatic rescue missions of recent years.
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