On this day the Soviet nuclear submarine K-8 sank along with four torpedoes armed with nuclear warheads. These atomic weapons still lie on the sea bed even now. The location where the submarine sank is not far from the European coast in the Bay of Biscay between France and Spain. It is a place about 490 kilometers north-west of Spanish coast.
It is tragic that the submarine K-8 took 52 human lives with her. The above mentioned four nuclear torpedoes, two submarine nuclear reactors and the bodies of 52 crew members today lie at a depth of about 4,680 meters. For comparison, Titanic wreck lies at a depth of about 3,800 meters.
The submarine K-8 belonged to the November class according to NATO classification. This was actually the first class of Soviet nuclear submarines. They were over 100 meters long, and had two nuclear reactors with enriched uranium-235. The first submarine of this class had the name “Leninsky Komsomol” and was the first Soviet submarine that surfaced at the North Pole.
The accident on K-8 occurred while it was diving 120 meters deep, when a fire broke out in two compartments simultaneously. The fire then began to spread through the air-conditioning system, and both nuclear reactors shut down. Captain Vsevolod Borisovich Bessonov ordered to abandon ship on the sea surface.
However, in the meantime, a towing vessel arrived. They decided that the 52 crew members should return aboard the submarine while she was towed to safety. However, the sea was stormy, and the submarine sank during towing, along with the entire crew. Captain Bessonov was also killed and was posthumously declared the Hero of the Soviet Union.