Navy salvage workers found the bodies of three missing sailors at their work stations aboard the drifting submarine Bonefish on Wednesday, nearly three days after explosions and fire forced the evacuation of the vessel.
Eighty-nine crew members evacuated the submarine, which filled with smoke and toxic fumes from an explosion in a forward battery compartment Sunday.
"Shortly after midnight, the salvage crew went aboard and discovered the bodies," said Chief Petty Officer Terry D. Borton, a spokesman at Atlantic Fleet headquarters here. "Two of the victims were discovered in the control room and the other in an administrative compartment."
The crewmen were identified as Lt. Ray Everts, 30, of Naoma, W.Va.; Petty Officer 1st Class Robert W. Bordelon Jr., 39, of Willis, Tex.; and Petty Officer 3rd Class Marshall T. Lindgren, 21, of Pisgah Forest, N.C.
Borton said the cause of death would not be known until a medical examination was complete.
The 30-year-old, diesel-electric vessel was taken under tow by the salvage ship Hoist, headed for the sub's home port of Charleston, S.C., Chief Petty Officer Joseph C. Mowery, another fleet spokesman, said late Wednesday.
Mowery said the trip would take two to four days depending on the weather.
The first explosion hit the submarine's battery compartment Sunday afternoon. The ship was cruising at periscope depth at the time, but the crew was able to bring it to the surface 160 miles off the Florida coast.