There are emerging concerns that 55 Chinese sailors may have tragically lost their lives following an incident involving their nuclear submarine in what appears to be an attempt to ambush US and UK sub-surface vessels. According to a confidential UK report, the crew is believed to have perished due to a catastrophic failure of the submarine’s oxygen system in August of this year, which led to onboard poisoning. The captain of the Chinese PLA Navy submarine, identified as ‘093-417,’ is reportedly among the victims, along with 21 other officers onboard in the Yellow Sea.
The UK report provides details of the fatal mission, stating: “Intelligence reports that on 21st of August there was an onboard accident while carrying out a mission in the Yellow Sea. The incident occurred at 08.12 local time, resulting in the death of 55 crew members: 22 officers, 7 officer cadets, 9 petty officers, and 17 sailors. Among the deceased is the captain, Colonel Xue Yong-Peng. Our understanding is that death was caused by hypoxia due to a system fault on the submarine.”
The report further describes the sequence of events, revealing that the submarine struck a chain and anchor obstacle deployed by the Chinese Navy to ensnare US and allied submarines. This collision resulted in systems failures that took six hours to repair, ultimately allowing the vessel to resurface. The onboard oxygen system is believed to have poisoned the crew following this catastrophic failure.
The Type 093 submarines are considered some of China’s more advanced submarines, measuring 351 feet in length and armed with torpedoes. They are known for their relatively low noise emissions. The incident is said to have occurred in waters off China’s Shandong Province.
While no independent confirmation of the suspected loss of the Chinese submarine is currently available, Beijing has dismissed open-source speculation over the incident as ‘completely false.’ Taiwan has also denied reports about the incident. The Royal Navy declined to comment on the details within the highly classified report, which is based on defense intelligence.