Submarine (from Wikipedia)
On 3 October 1986, while on patrol 680 miles (1100 km) northeast of Bermuda, K-219 suffered an explosion and fire in a missile tube. The seal in a missile hatch cover failed, allowing seawater to leak into the missile tube and react with residue from the missile's liquid fuel. The Soviet Navy claimed that the leak was caused by a collision with USS Augusta (SSN-710). Augusta was certainly operating in proximity, but the United States Navy denies any collision (see below). K-219 had previously experienced a similar casualty; one of her missile tubes was already disabled and welded shut.
K-219 in distress
Three sailors were killed outright and a fourth, Sergei Preminin, a 19-year old enlisted seaman, sacrificed his life after successfully securing the nuclear reactor by hand, trapped in the engine compartment. Captain Second Rank Igor Britanov was ordered to have the ship towed by a Soviet freighter back to Gadzhievo, her home port, some 7000 kilometers away.
Towing attempts were unsuccessful, and after subsequent poison gas leaks into the final aft compartments and against orders, Britanov ordered the crew to evacuate onto the towing ship. Britanov remained aboard K-219.
Displeased with Britanov's inability to repair his submarine and continue his patrol, Moscow ordered Valery Pshenichny, K-219’s security officer, to assume command, transfer the surviving crew back to the submarine, and return to duty. Before those orders could be carried out, however, K-219 abruptly sank into the Hatteras Abyss, about 6000 meters down. While the proximate cause of the sinking is unknown, some evidence indicates that Britanov may have scuttled her.
Preminin earned the Red Star, awarded posthumously, for his bravery in securing the reactors. Britanov was charged with negligence, sabotage, and treason. He was never imprisoned, but waited for his trial in Sverdlovsk. In May 1987, after a new Defense Minister took office in Moscow, the charges against Britanov were dismissed.
Next time, it'll all be different.