Igor Britanov Military Person
Captain Second Rank Igor Anatolievich Britanov, Soviet Navy (Ret.) was the captain of the Soviet missile submarine K-219 when it sank off the coast of Bermuda on October 3, 1986. That day, while on patrol 680 miles (1,090 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. K-219 had previously experienced a similar casualty; one of her missile tubes was already disabled and welded shut. Britanov was ordered to have his ship towed to Gadzhievo, her homeport, which was 7,000 kilometers (about 4,300 miles) away. The attempts to tow the ship were unsuccessful, and poison gas began to leak in the aft compartments. Against orders, Britanov ordered the crew evacuated to the towing ship, while he remained onboard K-219.