The recent discovery of wreckage from the Malaysian Airliner Flight 370 adds several new parallels to the disappearance and search for the Israeli submarine INS Dakar, lost in 1968 and discovered by Nauticos in 1999. Just as MH-370, Dakar vanished without a trace, with no sign of trouble, and in communication up to the last moment. Grieving families of the sixty-nine sailors lost on Dakar felt a lack of closure not knowing what happened to their loved ones, just as with the families of the lost airliner. Similar questions were asked: Was there a mechanical or operational flaw that could be remedied in other vessels? Was the Captain at fault, or was he or a crew member acting with evil intent? Was the submarine sunk by an enemy? Was the crew still alive, captured or stranded? Was some kind of international conspiracy afoot? Initial search efforts with international support yielded not a trace. The submarine was declared lost with all hands.
Then, a year later, a piece of wreckage washed ashore on the Gaza strip. Just as with MH-370, this piece was analyzed for any clues. From where did it drift? Would marine growth suggest a particular origin? Would the condition of the piece tell us anything?
As events developed, the Dakar wreckage did not directly aid the search for the lost submarine – in fact, accepted interpretation of its condition and trajectory mislead subsequent efforts. However, the appearance of a tangible piece of the wreck inspired renewed endeavor, which led thirty years later to the discovery of Dakar, closure to families, and a memorial to the crew.
See Never Forgotten: The Search and Discovery of Israel’s lost Submarine Dakar for a saga of tragedy, discovery, and closure.
MH-370 piece found 16 months after disappearance; INS Dakar piece found 12 months after disappearance.