Israel’s Submarine Mystery


What Happened to This Submarine?

Click Image For more photos of INS Dakar's Final Resting Place

On This Date in History:  At the height of World War II, the HMS Totem was commisoned by the British Navy.  It was added to the submarine fleet and after the war, it was modified by adding about 12 feet to its length and removing some of its deck guns.    In 1965, the Israeli government purchased 3 submarines from the British, including the Totem.  In November 1967, the Israeli navy recommissioned the sub as the Dakar.  Sea tests were done near Scotland and the plan was have the underwater boat  travel to Haifa in Israel for an offiicial ceremony in early February 1968.  But, that never happened.

INS Dakar Before Leaving for Haifa

As the Dakar traveled undersea on its voyage to Haifa, i was instructed to radio daily its position.  As it moved through the Straits of Gibralter and entered the Mediterranean Sea, the captain asked for permission to arrive in Haifa on January 28.   All seemed to be on schedule when on January 24, the Dakar passed the island of Crete and reported its position.   Just after midnight on January 25, 1968 an additional signal was received from the Dakar.  But, when the scheduled report of its position never came on this date in 1968, it became apparent that something was wrong.  All day attempts were made to reach the submarine to no avail.  An international search and rescue operaton began.  For five days, naval assets from Greece, Turkey, Lebanon and the United States searched in vain.  Israel continued the search on its own before it too gave up hope on February 4.    A month later, Israel held a national day of mourning and declared all 69 members of the crew of the Dakar dead.

Click Image For More About Book Never Forgotten: The Search For Israel's Lost Submarine Dakar

But, Israel never stopped looking for them.  For 31 years they searched.  They were thrown off when in 1969, Arab fisherman found one of the Dakar’s emergency buoys.  In analyzing the buoy and the broken cable, experts determined that the buoy had been attached to the submarine for about a year before it broke loose.  They also determined that the stricken sub rested between 150 and 326 meters below the surface and was 50 to 70 miles off course.  Now, how they could be so certain of all that is beyond me and, as it turns out, they were wrong.  And because they were wrong, Israeli searchers looked everywhere except the most obvious.  Because of this “expert” report, they never bothered to check the planned route of the submarine.

Finally, in 1999, it was determined that it might be a good idea to track the planned route of the submarine and to check the area between the last known location and Haifa.  The wreck of the Dakar was found in May 1999 in 3000 meters of water.  It was ripped apart.  After a review, speculation is that for unknown reasons, the boat took on water on the night of Jan 24 1968.  It lost its trim and went into a dive.  When it reached crash depth, it imploded and the debris settled to the bottom about 15 minutes later.   The buoy probably broke away when the accident occured, which seems to have happened sometime between midnight and 3 am  January 25, 1968.  It is possible that the signal received was indeed a signal from the emergency buoy which was not able to surface properly as it was attached to 600 feet of steel cable that had broken from the boat. 

Dakar Memorial in Haifa

So, they found the boat and to this day, a Memorial Service to honor those lost on the Dakar is held annually.  Part of the conning tower of the Dakar has been placed at the front of a naval museum in Haifa as a permanent memorial.    But, this is a great example of man thinking that he has the technology to conquer all.  Because of the experts, for 3 decades, searchers looked in the wrong place and, in the end, all of their conclusions were wrong.  We should keep this in mind when we consider taking drastic measures simply because experts think that they have all of the answsers.  It also is an example of how common sense should never be dismissed by technology, calculations or anything else.  It is when analysts dismiss possibilities that bad mistakes occur. 

GFS claiming between 6 and 10 inches of snow by end of week

Weather Bottom Line:  The story remains the same.  Look for much colder conditions on Monday with the high of the day being just after midnight.  It will only be in the mid 30’s or so on Monday afternoon and in the evening we should start to see some snow showers, which will stick around through much of Tuesday but I’m not so sure that accumulations will be all that significant.  It should only be about an inch or so over 36 hours and the ground wont be cold enough.  Now, a potentially bigger story may unfold for the latter part of the week.  It will be dependent on where the storm tracks and how much cold air we have.  It would not be surprising to see 6 inches of snow.  Then again, we may have rain turning to snow.  Guess here is we get some rain and then some decent accumulations as most indicators show a pretty good looking snow event, though I’m not so sure at this point we can hang our hat on the 18Z GFS which wants to put 6-10 inches of snow over our area.  Hopefully, there wont be any ice, but no guarantees. Just keep in mind that late Thursday and especially Friday may be a bit dicey.

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