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US Sailor Killed in Sub Accident Had Disregarded Warnings

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US Sailor Killed in Sub Accident Had Disregarded Warnings

Postby U-5075 » Wed Nov 26, 2008 11:54 pm ... sregarded/

Navy: Sailor Killed in Submarine Accident Disregarded Warnings

By Ed Friedrich (Contact)
Originally published 02:02 p.m., November 26, 2008
Updated 02:02 p.m., November 26, 2008

A sailor killed aboard the ballistic submarine USS Nebraska on Sept. 20 neglected posted safety warnings and got pinned by the ram that operates the ship's rudder, the Navy reported on Wednesday.

Machinist Mate 3rd Class Michael Gentile of Fairfield, Maine, died from blunt-force trauma and excessive bleeding in his lower-body, according to his mother, Julie Gentile. The Bangor-based submarine had been conducting routine operations off the coast of Oahu, Hawaii.

The investigation confirms what the Naval Safety Center had stated three days after the accident, that Gentile became "entangled and pinned" in the rudder ram.

Gentile, 21, was standing watch when the accident occurred, while much of the crew was conducting a "field day," or ship cleanup, said Submarine Group Trident spokesman Lt. Kyle Raines.

The accident prompted the Navy to check that safety measures were being followed on all of its submarines, Raines said. An investigation found that they were in place on the USS Nebraska when the accident occurred.

"They did require each sub to inspect the compartment that contains the rudder ram to ensure that designed safety features are present," Raines said.

None of the Nebraska's leaders will lose their jobs, although they could receive milder sanctions, Raines said.

"The decision regarding whether to relieve any leadership is taken very seriously, and after careful deliberation Submarine Force leadership determined that the appropriate course of action in this instance was to address the shortcomings through administrative actions," such as letters of reprimand, Raines said.

Those actions won't be made public, Raines said.

The Nebraska was beneath the surface at the time of the accident. Gentile was given emergency medical treatment on board the sub and was placed on a medical helicopter, but he died before reaching The Queen's Medical Center in Hawaii.

No other sailors were injured and the submarine was not damaged in the accident.

Gentile joined the Navy soon after his graduation in 2005 from Lawrence High School in Fairfield. He had been assigned to the Nebraska's Blue Crew since Nov. 15, 2006. Before that he had served on the USS Alaska, also based at Bangor.

The Nebraska has been assigned to Naval Base Kitsap-Bangor since October 2004.
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