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USS Thresher (SSN-593), starboard quarter view, taken while the submarine was 'underway' (sailing) on 30 April 1961.

The vessel[]

PNS Thresher.
Category. Statistic.
Name. USS Thresher (SSN-593).
Builder. Portsmouth Naval Shipyard.
Nationality. American.
Drought. .
Dose it have nukes. No.
Top speed. 33 knots (61 km/h; 38 mph).
Laid down. 28 May 1958.
Launched. 9 July 1960.
Completed. .
Commissioned. 3 August 1961.
Decommissioned. 10 April 1963.
Range. .
Test depth. .
Crew. 129.
Armament. 4 × 21 in (530 mm) torpedo tubes amidships.
Displacement. 3,540 short tons (3,210 t) light, 3,770 short tons (3,420 t) submerged.
Struck. Sunk.
Power source. .
Sensors and processing systems. .
Installed power: 1 15,000 shp (11 MW).
Sources. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/USS_Thresher_(SSN-593), http://www.navysite.de/ssn/ssn593.htm and http://www.ussthresher.com/.

The location[]

The 3 year old sub sunk with 'all hands aboard' (that is to say all crew 129 died in or on the sub it's self) during some planned deep diving tests, 10 April 1963, 350 km east of Cape Cod and now lies on the sea bead at a depth of 8,400 ft. It had a complement of 16 officers, 96 men. and 17 civilian technicians.

New technologies[]

The USA was building some new submarine designs dedicated to specifically hunt down and destroy Soviet subs. The SSN 593 was considered the most advanced sub at the time, with both new long range sonars (both passive and active) and the future plan of the U.S. Navy's newest anti-submarine missile, SUBROC.

The accident[]


Tragedies of the Cold War Documentary on the Nuclear Sub Disasters of the Thresher and Scorpion-0

Tragedies of the Cold War : Documentary on the Nuclear Sub Disasters of the USS Thresher and USS Scorpion.

The over view of events[]

It was a major accident tat caused the sub to sink with all it's crew on board. It was under the command of Lieutenant Commander John Wesley Harve. It was with the USS Skylark‍, captained by Lieutenant Commander Hecker. It was with The accident was caused by a

In company with USS Thresher put to sea on 10 April 1963 for deep-diving exercises. 15 minuets after reaching her assigned test depth, with the Skylark (ASR 20), it communicated desperately with the USS Skylark by underwater telephone system, saying there were technical difficulties. Suddenly, listeners in USS Skylark heard a noise "like air rushing into an air tank" - then, silence over the underwater phone.

The Navy rescue ship USS Recover (ASR 43) subsequently recovered bits of debris, including gloves and bits of internal insulation.

The USS Thresher was officially declared lost in April 1963.

What the USS Skylark heard[]

  • At 09:09, the USS Skylark hears over the underwater phone some banging and hissing noises. They amuse a technical issue has arisen and/or an accident has occurred.
  • At 09:15, the USS Skylark asks USS Thresher: "My course 270 degrees. Interrogative range and bearing from you." There in no response and they then ask "Are you in control?"
  • At 09:16, the USS Skylark picks up a garbled transmission from Thresher, "900 N." It may have indicated the submarine's depth and course, or it may have referred to a Navy "event number" (1000 indicating loss of submarine), with the "N" signifying a negative response USS Skylark asks, "Are you in control?"
  • At 09:17, a second transmission is received, with the partially recognisable phrase "exceeding test depth...." The USS Skylark hears over the underwater phone a loud  noise "like air rushing into an air tank".
  • At 09:18, USS Skylark detects a high-energy low-frequency noise with characteristics of an implosion.
  • At 9:20, USS Skylark continues to call the USS Thresher, on the underwater phone (a 'Gertrude' phone call) repeatedly calling for a radio check, a smoke bomb, or some else as indication of the boat's condition.

The possible causes[]

  1. Premature hull implosion due to poor manufacturing.
  2. Electrical failure casing it to sink to low.
  3. Ballast tank failure casing it to sink to low.


As the lead vessel, the class name should have been Thresher-class. After the sinking the rules of naval tradition required that it's name was to be retired and the class name was changed to that of the second boat, USS Permit (SSN-594), so meaning Thresher is, officially, referred to as a Permit-class submarine.

Having been "lost at sea", Thresher was not decommissioned by the U.S. Navy and remains on “Eternal Patrol".

Also see[]

  1. Submarines
  2. Disasters
  3. Navy
  4. United States
  5. The Soviet Submarine K-19 accident
  6. USS Nautilus (SSN-571)
  7. The sinking of Soviet submarine K-27
  8. The reactor explosion on-board Soviet submarine K-431


  1. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/USS_Thresher_(SSN-593)
  2. http://www.navysite.de/ssn/ssn593.htm
  3. http://www.ussthresher.com/