On the morning of August 12, 2000, a mighty Russian nuclear-powered submarine, the Kursk, is sailing through the Barents Sea, as part of a large-scale naval exercise. Submariners are loading a dummy torpedo, one with a propulsion system but no warhead, into one of the Kursk’s launching tubes. And what happens next shocks not only the Russian nation, but the whole world.
For some reason, that dummy torpedo, although lacking a warhead still packed with volatile materials to propel it, exploded at 11:27 a.m. This blast ignited an intense fire in the forward bulkhead where the torpedo tubes were located. That fire likely killed the seven Russian sailors in that section almost instantly.
That explosion of the missile in torpedo tube number four was bad enough. But the catastrophe that overtook the Kursk was just starting. Indeed, as well as dummy torpedoes, the vessel was also carrying fully armed missiles. And that first explosion was enough to set off a chain reaction which saw the other munitions explode.