Associated PressPublished: October 18, 2008
The crew of the Confederate submarine H.L. Hunley was not pumping water out of the crew compartment when the hand-cranked sub sank off Charleston in 1864.
That’s the latest discovery from the scientists restoring the sub, the first in history to sink an enemy warship.
Scientists say a valve on the system was not set to bilge water from the crew area, which might have happened if the Hunley were taking on water. It opens the possibility the crew might not have drowned, but suffocated as they used up their available air.
The system could either drain water from the crew compartment or the ballast tanks. But it’s not clear whether it was set to pump out ballast as the crew tried to surface.