Navy Agrees to Compensation in Fatal Submarine Accident

Associated Press

The Navy will pay $1.4 million to compensate the widow and two children of a tugboat crewman killed when his craft was pulled underwater by a San Diego-based nuclear-powered submarine, a newspaper reported Thursday.

In an out-of-court settlement, the federal government didn't admit fault in the death of Brian Belanger, the Press-Telegram reported Thursday, quoting documents on file in Norwalk Superior Court.

Belanger was one of three crew members on the tug Barcona when the craft's submerged tow cable was snagged by the attack sub Houston about 10 miles off Santa Catalina Island on June 14, 1989.

The tug was swiftly pulled under, and Belanger's body was never found. The other two crew members survived. The submarine was undamaged.

The Navy declined to comment on the settlement. James Zorigian, an attorney for Belanger's family, did not immediately return a telephone message Thursday.

The only statement from the Navy came in a letter, contained in the court file, from Lt. Cmdr. W.T. Storz of the Navy's legal branch.

"We are pleased to confirm that the secretary of the Navy has approved the settlement of all claims," the letter said.

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