Accident of the Commander Submarine Service
Text and photos by Peter den Tek.
After a visit to Edinburgh in autumn 1986 the Zwaardvis (2) took the Commander Submarine Service (COZD) KTZ Fanoy on board for a work visit to the Zwaardvis. He spent a few hours on board and late in afternoon he would leave the ship at open sea by means of a PUMA helicopter which would hoist him from the sail.
Curious to see this event I asked Sergeant Major van Rossum if I could position myself in the “radarbun” in order to look and to take photo’s. One by one I saw the people coming up to the bridge, KTZ Fanoy, Sgtmjr van Rossum, Ltz. I M.J.H. Asch van Wijk and a radio operator Alex Kischemoller.
KTZ Fanoy wore a helmet and a special harness with which he would be connected to the cable which would be used to hoist him in to the PUMA helicopter.
In the distance I could see the PUMA approaching, it was getting dark and the wind increased. The PUMA positioned itself next to the Zwaardvis. The Zwaardvis had all engines stopped in order for the PUMA to hover above the submarine, this proved to be difficult due to the increased wind.
Finally after being directed by LTZ Asch van Wijk and the radio operator the PUMA was directly above the Zwaardvis and the cable was lowered .The PUMA hovered perfectly above Zwaardvis and the COZD was connected to the cable.
Commander Asch van Wijk gave the signal that the COZD could be hoisted up and at that exact time the wind increased (headwind) and the PUMA started to move backwards without hoisting the COZD who was still connected and standing in the “kuip”.
The COZD could not be released in time and the COZD was pulled out of the “kuip” and was dragged across the sail. I was still in the “radarbun” and saw the COZD coming towards me, I could see the horror in his eyes. Than suddenly the COZD got stuck with his lower body in the “radar bun”, meanwhile the PUMA tried to correct its position and slowed down but still moved backwards. I could here the bones crack in the body of the COZD and surprisingly he was not screaming of pain. In a reflection I kicked the COZD with my left leg in his hip (this was only possible due to the corrections the PUMA did, otherwise the COZD would have probably not survived the accident) and he came loose from the Zwaardvis. As he came loose he made a giant swing and he missed the boat by inches when he swinged back. The PUMA now lowered the COZD until he touched the water after which the swing stopped and the COZD was hoisted on board the PUMA. All of this happened within seconds.
Straight after the accident I was questioned by an Officer about the accident, during that interview it became clear that there were several versions of the accident. I told how the Commander gave the signal to hoist the COZD but according to the interviewer the Commander never gave such a signal. My version of the accident was not used in further investigations.
Later I heard that the COZD was seriously injured and he sustained a broken hip and multiple internal fractions.
Some time later just before I left the Submarine Service I was invited by the COZD for a visit in the “kajuit” and during that visit the COZD expressed his gratitude to me for kicking him during the accident! I never thought that anyone would thank me for kicking him.
Left: The 'getuigschrift' Peter got when he left the Navy. It states his heroic actions in 1986 (© Collection Peter den Tek).
Top: Dutch newspaper article of the accident. (© Collection Peter den Tek).
Text and photos by Peter den Tek (Matroos 1 ODOPS) ex crew member of Zwaardvis (2).
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