Puslapio vaizdai

85. The distance of about 2,000 yards would be traversed in 21⁄2 minutes. 86. Action by the S-4 was desirable when that distance 2,000 yards, was reached, either surfacing or diving deep.

87. Up to 1,200 yards' interval, safe action could have been taken by the S-4. 88. Within 1,200 yards the conditions would be critical and delay in action by the commanding officer of the S-4 could no longer be justified.

89. The commanding officer of the S-4 must have realized that collision was inevitable at least 11 seconds in advance, as indicated by time required to lower periscope from full height to position in which found.

90. The vessels, therefore, sighted each other at least 12 seconds before the collision.


The court finds that:


91. The S-4 was in collision with the Paulding at 3.37 p. m., December 17,


92. At 3.49 the commandant of the navy yard, Boston was informed by telephone message from the Coast Guard station at Nahant of her sinking.

93. At 3.50 the commandant, navy yard, Boston, received a radio from the Coast Guard destroyer Paulding, "Rammed and sank unknown submarine off Wood End, Provincetown.

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94. At 4.04 rush long-distance telephone calls were made by commandant, navy yard, Boston, to submarine base, New London, and navy yard, Portsmouth, N. H.; and telegrams also sent to each of those stations and to the navy yard, New York, stating: "Submarine reported sunk at Wood End near Provincetown by Coast Guard destroyer. Send any lifting apparatus.

Rush." 95. At 4.05 radio giving same information sent to tug Wandank at Provincetown, and a long-distance call put in for Admiral Hughes, Chief of Naval Operations in Washington. Telegrams sent at 4.04 were received at navy yard, New York at 4.14 and at submarine base, New London, at 4.18.


96. The Navy Department, with the utmost dispatch, assembled at Provincetown the personnel most capable and experienced in rescue and salvage work, and ordered to the scene of the collision all available rescue and salvage material. 97. Capt. E. J. King, commanding the U. S. S. Wright at Norfolk, Va., received orders shortly after 3 to proceed instantly to Provincetown. He caught the first train from Norfolk to New York and proceeded from New York to Provincetown by airplane, arriving on the Falcon at 1.15 p. m., December 18, and took up his duties as senior aide to Rear Admiral Brumby, commander control force. Captain King had had duty in connection with submarines from 1922 to 1926; the first year in command of two submarine divisions afloat, and the latter three years in command of the submarine base at New London. He had direct charge of the salvage operations of the S-4.

98. Lieut. Commander Edward Ellsberg, United States Naval Reserve, who, as a naval constructor in the Navy had had long experience in the construction and repair of submarines, had been the salvage officer under Captain King during the salvage operations that raised the S-51. He was a qualified deep-sea diver and the most experienced man in the Navy for submarine rescue work in deep water. Lieutenant Commander Ellsberg had resigned from the Navy and was in civil life. When he learned on Sunday morning of the sinking of the S-4, he immediately volunteered his services and was directed to proceed to Provincetown. He arrived on the Falcon about 3 a. m., December 19.

99. Lieut. Commander Harold D. Saunders (Construction Corps) United States Navy, who arrived at Provincetown on the Bushnell, is the superintendent in charge of the construction of V-class submarines. From 1914 to 1916 he did post-graduate work at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, specializing in submarine design. From 1916 to 1920 he had duty at the Mare Island Yard, in charge of the submarine repair and alterations at that yard, and in charge of the construction of submarines 0-14, 0-15, and 0-16. From 1920 to 1924 he was in charge of the submarine section, Bureau of Construction and Repair, since which date he had been performing his present duty.

100. Lieut. Henry Hartley, United States Navy, commanding officer of the Falcon with 21 years' naval service, had been connected with submarines since 1917. He had qualified as a diver and in 1924 was ordered to the command of the submarine rescue vessel Falcon. He had fitted himself for the command of this vessel by the study of all available records of submarine sinkings and salvage. He had familiarized himself with all classes of submarines, their safety apparatus and their fittings for rescue and salvage. He had commanded the Falcon during the operations for the rescue of the S-51, covering a period of nine months.

101. At 6.10 the rescue and salvage vessel Falcon, Lieut. Henry Hartley, United States Navy, in command, sailed from New London with her complete equipment and with the commander control force on board.

102. Between 7 and 8.17 the tugs Mallard and Lark and the destroyer Sturtevant sailed from the navy yard, Boston, Mass., for Provincetown, Mass., with divers, diving equipment, and underwater cutting torches from the navy yard, the Utah and the Florida.

103. At 7.30 the submarine tender Bushnell sailed from the navy yard, Portsmouth, N. H., with her complete equipment and with Commander Saunders, submarine construction officer of the yard; Commander Strother, the twelfth submarine division commander, to which the S-4 belonged; the engineer repair officer who had charge of the S-4 repairs, divers, and diving equipment available at the yard ashore and afloat.

104. The U. S. Submarine S-8, en route from Provincetown, Mass., to New London, Conn., was turned back and returned to Provincetown at 11.35.

105. At 5.45 the Coast Guard destroyers Conyngham and Wainwright arrived at Provincetown.

106. The U. S. S. Falcon arrived at Provincetown at 7.55 a. m., December 18, 1927, by which time there had been assembled the following naval vessels: Lark, Bushnell, Sturtevant, Mallard, Wandank, S-8, and also the Coast Guard destroyers Wainwright and Conyngham, and two Coast Guard patrol boats.

107. The depth of the water in which the S-4 lay was found by the Lark and Bushnell to be too great to permit of the use of the ordinary service diving equipment brought by those vessels to the scene of the collision. Consequently, no rescue operations could be undertaken until the arrival of the Falcon carrying the special equipment necessary for deep-sea diving and rescue work.


108. About 5 p. m., December 17, while bubbles and oil were still rising from the submarine to the surface, a Coast Guard surfboat "fixed" the location of the S-4 by ranges on shore, and the naval tug Wandank placed two marker buoys as close to the location as possible.

109. About 8 p. m. a Coast Guard picket boat hooked a grapnel in the submarine and rode to it.

110. About 3 a. m., the 18th, this grapnel gave way.

111. The picket boat again dragged for the S-4, assisted by boats from the Bushnell, Lark, and Mallard, and at 10.45 a. m. of the 18th, the grapnel of the picket boat caught on the submarine.

112. The Falcon was then as promptly as practicable maneuvered into position over the S-4, using quarter lines to the Lark and Mallard. She took the grapnel line on board and used it as a descending line for the divers.


113. The first diver descended at 1.15 p. m., the 18th of December, and landed on the submarine.

114. This diver determined that men were still alive in the torpedo room in the forward end of the submarine; but no sign of life aft.

115. Although there were no signs of life in the after part of the boat, men might still be alive there, though unable to indicate their presence because of weakness or being in a state of unconsciousness.

116. If these men were alive, the only possible method of saving their lives was to raise the boat by forcing air into the ballast tanks and thus driving the water out of them; for if all water in the ballast tanks could be replaced by air it would give sufficient buoyancy to bring the boat to the surface provided not more than one compartment had been flooded. By this method it might be possible to raise the boat within two hours.


117. A second diver, therefore, was sent down to connect an air hose to the ballast tank salvage line. This was accomplished at 4.27 p. m. on December 18, 1927.

118. Air was immediately blown through the salvage connection into the ballast tanks of the S-4 for about one hour when air began to rise to the surface in quantity about equal to that pumped down, thus showing that such means alone would not raise the S-4.

119. During the above operation the Falcon was moved slightly to avoid being struck by the S-4, should she rise to the surface. When it was found that these efforts were unsuccessful, the Falcon was hauled back to her position directly over the S-4.

120. As the attempt to raise the boat promptly by blowing the ballast tanks had failed, it was decided that the next effort should be directed to getting additional air to the men in the boat, and that this could be most expeditiously done by an air hose connection to the compartment air salvage line.


121. By this time the wind, which had been steadily increasing, had reached gale force and the sea had risen to such an extent that the Falcon could not be held stationary, but yawed over a wide angle. Diving had thus become extremely hazardous and was only undertaken under the most compelling circumstances, to save those in imminent danger of death.


122. Michaels, the most experienced of the divers still available, was sent down to connect the hose to the compartment air salvage line.

123. Under these dangerous conditions, Michaels was unable to make this connection and almost lost his life, due to the fouling of his life and air lines. It was only by the heroic work of Diver Eadie that he was rescued.

124. Further diving was impossible at this time.

125. During the night the gale continued, so that the Falcon was forced to let go both quarter lines and ride only to her own anchors.

126. This gale continued without abatement until 6 o'clock Wednesday morning.


127. As Michaels's condition required hospital treatment to save his life, and as the storm-warning signals indicated a continuance of the gale, rendering diving operations impossible, the Falcon proceeded to Boston on the morning of Monday, the 19th, to place Michaels in the naval hospital, returning the evening of the same day.


128. Signal communication had been established with the men in the torpedo room directly after it was known that men were alive there. Messages were interchanged until 6.20 a. m., Tuesday, the 20th, and it was thought that faint taps from the torpedo room could be heard as late as 4.30 p. m. the same day.


129. The weather began to moderate at about 6 a. m., Wednesday, the 21st. The Falcon then proceeded to lay out permanent quarter moorings and to anchor as near as could be determined over the wreck.

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130. When the Falcon left on Monday the 19th to proceed to Boston, the location of the S-4 was fixed by the following, namely, (1) by cross bearings taken by the Coast Guard picket boat; (2) by two buoys placed by the Wandank while the air bubbles were still ascending from the S-4; (3) by sextant angles taken by the Paulding; (4) by buoy placed by the Paulding; (5) by sextant angles taken by the Falcon; (6) by distance and bearing of buoy C-AA taken

by the Falcon; (7) by buoys made fast to the 4-inch descending line which was attached to the S-4; (8) by buoys made fast to the air hose which was connected to the ballast tank air salvage line of the S-4.


131. When the Falcon moored over the wreck on Wednesday, all of the above buoys had been carried away by the gale, with the exception of one yellow can buoy, placed by the Wandank off the starboard quarter of the S-4, and the buoys attached to the air hose connected with the S-4.

132. In taking in the slack of the air hose it was found to be unattached, and when hauled on board it was found to have been chafed during the gale, so that it parted while the slack was being hauled in.

133. Soundings with the lead were made from the Falcon, and divers were immediately sent down and available boats gotten out to drag with grapnels, in order that a descending line might again be attached to the S-4.

134. One of the Falcon's boats hooked the S-4 with a grapnel at 5.30 p. m., Wednesday the 21st.

135. Divers were then sent down to make fast a descending line to some point over the torpedo room.


136. This being accomplished, divers were sent down to connect an air hose to the SC tube and this was completed at 10.05 p. m., when air was immediately forced into the torpedo room.

137. Air was successively vented from and forced into that compartment for the following 45 hours.

138. A second air hose was connected to the other branch of the SC tube and also used.

139. The first sample of air taken some time after the hose was connected to the SC tube, showed 7 per cent carbon dioxide content. After forcing air into and venting it from the compartment for 24 hours, the carbon dioxide content was reduced to one-half of 1 per cent.


140. After the connections were made to the SC tubes, divers began to wash a tunnel under the S-4 at frame 20, for the purpose of passing chains under the S-4 for lifting the bow by pontoons.

141. Rescue operations were continued until 2 p. m., Saturday, December 24.


142. From the time of the sinking of the S-4, at 3:37 December 17, the scene of the disaster has been continuously guarded.


143. When the divers, about two weeks after the date of the collision, entered the S-4, the bodies of 32 of the 40 persons who had been on board were found in the engine and motor rooms. None were found in the central operating compartment (control room). Six were known to be in the torpedo room, thus leaving two unaccounted for. The 32 bodies were all found in a recumbent position, stretched along the floor from the forward end of the engine room to the after end of the motor room. There were none found in the high parts of these compartments, such as on top of main engine cylinders, air compressors, or exhaust pipes. None of the bodies showed external marks of burns or other injury.

144. Post-mortem examinations were made on all and autopsies performed on eight of the bodies. Death in each case was held to have been caused by asphyxiation by immersion (drowning).

145. No written records were found within the S-4, nor on the bodies recovered therefrom, having any bearing on the cause of the accident or conditions within the S-4 subsequent to the accident.


146. Six watches were found upon the bodies taken from the S-4. Three of them were run down. The first of the remaining three stopped at 2:17, having 18 hours more to run. The second stopped at 3:11, having run 32 hours and having 6 more to run. The third stopped at 3:50, having run 18 hours and having 18 hours more to run. All the watches that did not run down were stopped by the entrance of water into the cases.

147. Over two weeks after the sinking of the S-4 divers knocked out a bolt in the top of the engine room. Water immediately entered through the bolt hole with strong force, showing that the compartment was not flooded and that the pressure in the engine room was less than on the outside of the boat.

148. Examination of the S-4 thus far made by divers indicates that the ship was secured for normal submerged operation at periscope depth. The following conditions were found:


(1) The water-tight door between the battery room and the central operating compartment was closed but held by only three dogs loosely set up.

(2) The two flap valves in the battery ventilation exhaust line, passing through the bulkhead between the battery room and the central operating compartment were both open; the voice tube valve on the after side of that bulkhead was partially closed; the small drain valve from the washbasin through this bulkhead was open.

(3) The water-tight door in the bulkhead between the central operating compartment and engine room was closed with all dogs secured; all valves in this bulkhead were closed.

(4) There is no indication of a rupture in the pressure hull of the central operating compartment.

(5) The prompt and free escape of the divers' exhaust air from the battery room, when that compartment was entered by a diver, proves that the pressure hull is ruptured overhead in that compartment.


(6) The S-4 lies on the bottom on about an even keel, heading about 260° true.

(7) The vertical rudder is about 15° left; the bow planes are approximately horizontal; the stern planes are about 15° rise (forward edges down).

(8) The superstructure of the S-4 is carried away from just forward of the gun to frame 52; the extent of the rupture in the pressure hull has not yet been determined.

(9) The periscopes were both partially lowered; the forward periscope is lowered to opposition where the eyepiece is about 9 inches below the deck in the periscope well; the after periscope is lowered to a position where the eyepiece is about 22 feet below the deck in the periscope well.


149. Under the title "Desirable alterations," the commanding officer of the S-4, under date of June 20, 1927, requested the following alterations be made: "Install air purifiers and complete arrangements for oxygen storage."

In acting upon this request the Bureau of Construction and Repair stated that it was contemplated to accomplish this desirable alteration during the fiscal year beginning on the 1st of July, 1928.

150. The purpose of the air purifier installation is to circulate air through or over soda lime. The operation of the air purifier is dependent upon the circulation of air by electric blowers.


151. The allowance list of the S-4 provides for 50 pounds of soda-lime for each man of the crew.

152. There was in store at the navy yard, Portsmouth, at the time of the departure of the S-4 from that yard, two days before the collision, soda-lime for issue upon the request of the commanding officer of any submarine.

153. No definite evidence could be obtained as to whether or not there was soda-lime on board the S-4 at the time of the collision.

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