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Weapons of Mass Destruction (WMD)

Submarine captain slips off vessel, remains unaccounted for

ROC Central News Agency

2009/09/14 22:19:36

By Deborah Kuo

Kaohsiung, Sept. 14 (CNA) The captain of the submarine Hai Lung, Chen Chi-tsung, slipped and fell overboard from the vessel Monday during a mission, Navy Fleet Command reported later that day.

Chen, 47, who has served in the navy since 1988, remained unaccounted for as of 8 p.m. Monday when the Navy Fleet Command based in the southern port city of Kaohsiung called a news conference to brief the media on the incident.

Rescue vessels and helicopters were dispatched to search for Chen in the waters outside the Zuoying naval base immediately after the command was alerted, said Lo Chih-ming, an officer in charge of news and publicity.

"The search has been continuing despite bad weather and heavy seas, " Lo said.

The Hai Lung, a 66.92 meter submarine modeled on the Netherlands' Zwaardvis-class submarine, was commissioned in the late 1980s.

It stands 8.4 meters wide and is equipped with six 21-inch torpedo launchers and advanced navigation and combat systems. It has the capacity to carry 11 officers and 66 crew.

The Hai Lung and another Zwaardvis-class sub, the Hai Hu, as well as two submarines of other classes, form the backbone of the navy's underwater defense force and are responsible for anti-submarine and coastal surveillance missions.

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