WORLD : Dutch Sub’s SOS an ERROR

<i> From Times wire services </i>

A Dutch submarine with a crew of up to 67 surfaced safely off northern Norway today after mistakenly sending out emergency signals that prompted a major search operation, NATO officials said today.

A spokesman for a major NATO exercise in the area said a buoy normally attached to the hull had come loose accidentally and had begun sending emergency signals. “The submarine resurfaced a few minutes ago. Everyone’s safe,” he said.

A Canadian Orion surveillance plane had picked up emergency signals from the buoy shortly before midday, prompting a search. “The submarine wasn’t due to surface and make radio contact until 2300 (11 p.m.),” said the spokesman, Paal Jebsen. “But it registered our efforts to signal it and get in touch. It responded.” Fourteen NATO ships and numerous helicopters and aircraft had joined in the search for the submarine.