Ways of escaping a stricken submarine? © Getty Images

Are there any ways of escaping from a stricken submarine?

Don't open the hatch, however much you might sent to get out.

Asked by: TONY JACOBS, DURHAM

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There are, but whichever method you use, the odds aren’t great. The best chance is to send a smaller sub down to dock with the stranded sub so that crew can be rescued. This requires that the hatches are accessible and undamaged and it takes a long time to organise, so the crew need to survive flooding compartments, fire, toxic gases and radiation hazards until then. When there isn’t time for that, the crew can try to escape through ‘escape trunk’ airlocks using special survival suits. In WWII, these were just a hood that trapped a bubble of air or contained a small air supply, combined with a lifejacket. Modern escape suits include full-body protection against drowning, hypothermia and decompression sickness. The Royal Navy also has a ‘Submarine Parachute Assistance Group’ trained to airdrop to the site of a sinking sub and recover survivors as they emerge.


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