HATTIESBURG, MS (WDAM) - The Mike-class Soviet nuclear submarine K-278 Komsomolets sinks in the Barents Sea.
K-278 was the only one of her class designed to develop technology for new generations of Soviet subs. She had a double hull with the inner hull made of titanium, allowing her to dive very deeply. In 1984 K-278 used this advantage to reach a record depth of 3,350 feet in the Norwegian Sea.
In one of the Soviet Union's worst nuclear disasters at sea, a fire broke out in Komsomolets' aft and fueled itself off oxygen inside. She surfaced, but a rescue didn't make it fast enough and 42 men lost their lives. Komsomolets and her nuclear reactor and nuclear torpedoes still rest on the floor of the Norwegian Sea in 5,510 feet of water. The mild radioactivity the torpedoes and reactor emit were covered by and sealed by the USSR in 1996.
"Komsomolets" means "a member of the Young Communist League."