|Editions | myCNN | Video | Audio | Headline News Brief | Feedback||
Mysteries Still Surround USS Greeneville AccidentAired February 15, 2001 - 4:02 p.m. ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
JOIE CHEN, CNN ANCHOR: Joining us now at the Pentagon for more on the investigation is CNN's military affairs correspondent Jamie McIntyre.
Jamie, what more do we know about the role the civilians played aboard the Greeneville?
JAMIE MCINTYRE, CNN MILITARY AFFAIRS CORRESPONDENT: Well, we have now heard first-hand from them their account, which pretty much goes along with what the Navy has said. That is that, while they were at the controls of the submarine, or two control stations, they really weren't in control of the submarine.
As the Navy described it today, one of the people simply pulled levers -- that was John Hall, who you just saw in that picture -- he pulled some levers down to send pressurized air into the ballast tanks and, as he described it, one of the submarine's crew members put his hands on his hands and then had him immediately sit down afterwards. He was no longer at the controls once the accident happened.
And then the other person at the controls was simply holding onto the steering wheel at a time when there's really nothing for him to do, except hold onto that steering wheel. So, their account confirms that. But one of the interesting things we learned about was what the submarine did just before it conducted this exercise to try to find out if there were any surface ships in the area. This is a big question: How did the submarine miss the fact that that Japanese ship was above -- Japanese fishing ship was above them?
And we're told by these civilians -- observers who were onboard, that they saw multiple sweeps done by the periscope to take a look around the submarine; done not just by the captain, but also by other crew members. And the fact that the video output -- the display from this periscope was on the video screens, or little, flat display screens in the submarine, so other people could see it. And that really deepens the mystery of why it was that the sub was not able to see the Japanese fishing boat.
CHEN: Jamie, has there been much explanation -- I know the Pentagon has not released the names of the other people -- the other civilians who were aboard -- but is there any explanation of who these people are? What kind of work they do? Why they would be allowed to do anything on a submarine? MCINTYRE: Well, the Navy said that this group of people, which we're now told is 16 people, including, we're told, a journalist -- a sports writer and his wife were apparently onboard the submarine, who we have not heard from -- that they were part of a group that had arranged to go out on the submarine some time ago.
These were, we're told by sources, were contributors to the USS Battleship Missouri Memorial Fund and had planned a trip out to Hawaii and to go out on this trip on the submarine. The Pentagon insists that these kinds of decisions are made by the Navy all the time -- to take people out, to show them how the Navy does its job, and they routinely allow them to take part in some very minor parts of the submarine operation as that happens.
CHEN: And Jamie, it has been explained that this sub was in a particular area that, I guess, is marked on maps used by people in the maritime industry. They're supposed to know that this is an area where there could be submarine activity?
MCINTYRE: Well, this -- there is, on maritime navigation charts for this area of the ocean, there's a little zone called that's called a submarine training area. It's, essentially, a warning to people that submarines operate in this area. But there are no restrictions on the submarines and there's no restrictions on the surface ships. It's not like it's any kind of exclusion zone.
The submarine Greeneville was operating in its assigned area at the time, but it was supposed to make sure that a 5-mile radius around it was clear before it conducted this exercise, and we now know from the known information about where the submarine was and where the ship was, that this fishing boat had to be within three miles of the submarine at the time the periscope search was going on; and they decided that it was clear for five miles.
So again the question is: Why didn't they see that boat?
CHEN: CNN's Jamie McIntyre for us at the Pentagon today.
TO ORDER A VIDEO OF THIS TRANSCRIPT, PLEASE CALL 800-CNN-NEWS OR USE OUR SECURE ONLINE ORDER FORM LOCATED AT www.fdch.com
|Back to the top|