Gauteng Model Boat Club - Latest News

Submarine Single-Handedly Rescued by Scuba Diver

15 January 2017

South African maritime history was made recently when a Gauteng scuba diver singlehandedly located and recovered a submarine!

It was just a day like any other, comfortably and warm with winds safely off the weather warning charts.

At 12h00 noon, 15th January 2017, the submarine U239 slipped its moorings in the Emmerentia harbour and silently moved out to deeper waters on its electric motors, its mission: to search for a PT boat which intelligence agencies had reported as being active in the area, and a danger to shipping in these busy waters.

This particular PT boat had recently been completed and launched in the Gray Shipyard. It was painted in the company's gray camouflage colours comprising a careful blend of many shades of gray and dark gray so that it would blend in well with any background.

As the submarine dived below the surface and began hunting for the PT boat, the entire mission was suddenly plunged into a disaster that will be written into the annals of RC shipping history. Although no battle contact had been made with its quarry, the authorities lost contact with the submarine which was then reported as missing in action, later confirmed to have been lost with all hands, having sunk to the murky depths after suffering an undetermined mechanical catastrophe.

Coincidentally, the PT warship had also suffered a malfunction of its own and was in sight of the shore line when it broached to starboard after taking high-speed evasive action and suffered a flooded engine room, but thanks to the skillful handling of Captain Sameer "Sabre" Samuels, the boat righted itself and managed to get immediate rescue assistance and was towed back to safety.

The following day, a search and rescue mission was launched for the missing submarine, which had now been on the bottom for nearly a day,and a diver was dispatched to the coordinates of the place last seen to begin a grid search for the sunken vessel, lying somewhere on the bottom. After two hours of dedicated work at great depths and in freezing, inky waters, the vessel was finally recovered by the diver, James "SlimJim" Hagen and returned to its joyous and relieved owner Herr Professor Andreas Lemmerer.

The diver was in the water for just under two hours at a depth of 4 metres. Visibility was zero and he had to feel his way around. When the sun came out of the clouds he had brief spells of marginally better visibility. Hagen said that he did feel claustrophobic and suffered attacks of vertigo, not knowing which way was up or down, but he stuck to his task to locate and rescue the sub without considering his own discomfort.

Lemmerer later remarked that a range of modifications is now planned for U239, including a new camouflage scheme in shades of Canary Yellow!

Allan Rosenberg.

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