Israeli Lost Sub Dakar Found
Expert: Collision probably sank Israeli submarine in '68
JERUSALEM (CNN) -- Evidence from the Mediterranean grave of the Israeli submarine "Dakar" reveals that the vessel sunk more the 30 years ago after a collision with a large ship, a naval expert said Tuesday.
The Dakar was found last week by U.S. and Israeli salvage crews about 480 kilometers (300 miles) off the Israeli coast, in an area between the islands of Crete and Cyprus.
"The wreckage of the conning tower is really distorted and torn as though something struck it a glancing blow and sailed on without noticing," said retired Israeli naval Capt. Doron Amir.
When the Dakar disappeared during its maiden voyage as an Israeli vessel in 1968, there was speculation it was sunk by the Egyptian navy or the Soviet Union.
The Israeli government hoped to solve the mystery of the missing sub by enlisting the help of U.S. experts. The wreckage was found last week nearly 3 kilometers (2 miles) below the surface with the same equipment used to locate the Titanic.
The submarine was originally built in 1945 for the British navy. Although it was refitted, its captain complained of mechanical problems during the voyage from Portsmouth, England, to Israel.
Israel's Channel Two television aired an animated reconstruction of the presumed collision with a ship on Monday.
"The film, based on the photographic evidence, shows that the submarine discerned the approaching ship late, going into a dive in an effort to avoid a collision," said military correspondent Roni Daniel.
He added that if the dive had started five to eight seconds earlier, the Dakar might have avoided the deadly collision.
Amir cautioned that the investigation is still not complete, but said that all the evidence points to a collision.
Hoping to give her father a traditional Jewish burial, a daughter of one of the Dakar's 69 crew members appealed to the military on Monday to recover remains from the sunken hull.
But officials have said that the wreckage is too deep for divers to carry out a salvage mission.
For now, mourners will continue to light 69 candles above 69 plaques at a memorial built in Israel for the Dakar.
The Mystery of the DakarDateline: 06/07/99