HMCS Corner Brook

February 18, 2012 by staff 

HMCS Corner Brook, The damage done to HMCS Corner Brook last summer when it hit the ocean floor was more extensive than first reported, CBC News has learned by obtaining exclusive pictures of the submarine.

The Canadian navy admitted that the submarine crashed off British Columbia in June, but it never described the extent of damage or released a photograph.

“I was gobsmacked. I had no idea that this level of damage had occurred,” said Senator Colin Kenny, the former head of the Senate defence committee. “That may explain why the navy took it out of the water at night.”

But Rear-Admiral Mark Norman, deputy commander of the Royal Canadian Navy, said on CBC’s Power and Politics on Monday that the damage is not as bad as it looks and the navy was not attempting to hide anything.

“When you’re looking at your damaged car in the intersection, and you can drive it home, you don’t really know how badly damaged it is,” Norman told host Evan Solomon. “It is similar to a fender bender, yes. It just happens to be a very expensive piece of equipment.”

The submarine’s damage was described as “horrific” by Kenny, who said he worries about the state of Canada’s submarine fleet and about the 60 sailors who were aboard.

“I think the psychological impact of what can be described as a near-death experience would have a profound effect on some of these individuals. I hope they are getting the care and support that they need,” he added.

The submarine hit the bottom when it was 45 metres below the surface. The navy’s official board of inquiry blamed Lt.-Cmdr. Paul Sutherland, the sub’s captain, for the collision.

The navy released a one-page summary of the board’s report on the accident. When asked about the pictures CBC News acquired, officials would only say the damage is being assessed.

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