20,000 feet under the sea – Obituary: John Piña Craven

Swallowing submarines whole

The best story of all concerned what the Soviets mislaid. In 1968 a submarine, K129, disappeared in the Pacific. Dr Craven was ordered to find it, mostly because it might be rogue and about to attack the United States. Halibut detected it, three miles down and wrecked by an explosion, and took 22,000 photos; the CIA then went wild, and in 1974 sent a specially built ship, the Glomar Explorer, to try to raise the submarine. On the pretext of mining manganese nodules, a giant claw would scrape it up; then the underbelly of the ship would open, swallowing the submarine whole.



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