Former Yugoslav warship scuttling almost turns fatal with two people stuck on the sinking ship

Former Yugoslavian Navy command ship ‘Vis’ was scuttled last week some 250 off the Croatian coast, with two men still on board, in the Kvarner Bay to make an artificial reef for scuba diving.

Croatian media amply reported about the “first intentional scuttling” in the country’s history. However, it took the video editors some time to realize that the scuttling almost turned into a tragedy.

Namely, two persons were still on board the ship when the explosive charges were detonated and the ship started sinking. It would seem that the organizers underestimated the undertaking; it was predicted that the ship would take an hour to sink and it sank in little more than four minutes.

Videos show two men standing dangerously close to explosive charges and later rushing to the stern to be saved by surrounding ships which rushed to pull the two men from the water.

The two men walked away without injuries and later told local newspapers that they didn’t consider their adventure to be “a big deal at all”. Judging by the footage from the event, it would seem that the men narrowly escaped serious injury or even worse.

‘Vis’ was built in Pula, Croatia in 1956 as a passenger ship and later equipped with military communications and armament and turned into a command ship.

The 57-meter ship displaced 662 tonnes and could accommodate 35 officers in addition to the crew. Former Yugoslav president Josip Broz Tito was a frequent guest aboard the ship.

A Croatian businessman bought the ship in 2002 with the intention of turning it into a luxury yacht. However, the poor condition of the ship and the extent of investment required for the refurbishment prompted the owner to scuttle the ship and turn it into a diving attraction.

Video: (Stefano Kliba) Norco-6-1/YouTube