Spanish Warship Goes Aground During Search for Downed Airplane

The Turia aground off Cartagena (Fernando Martin / Twitter)

Published Aug 28, 2019 6:07 PM by The Maritime Executive

The Spanish Navy minesweeper Turia went aground Tuesday morning off La Manga, a narrow peninsula near Cartagena, Spain. The vessel was engaged in a search for a downed Spanish Air Force C-101 training jet at the time of the casualty. 

A portion of the Turia's crew and a dive team remained aboard the vessel overnight to monitor any changes. The vessel has taken on water, with flooding in several compartments, the Spanish Navy said in a social media update. Due to weather, a dive team was not immediately able to evaluate the nature and extent of the hull damage, but conditions improved enough Wednesday that divers were able to examine the exterior of the vessel. 

The salvage team also took advantage of the improvement in the weather to bring in a barge and begin lightering off the Turia's fuel, and 15 tonnes have been removed so far. This has two benefits, the Spanish Navy said: reducing the risk of pollution and lightening the vessel for a planned refloat attempt. The ultimate objective is to tow the vessel into Cartagena for repairs. 

The Spanish Navy has mobilized a submarine rescue / dive support vessel, the Neptuno, to assist the salvage effort. 

The Spanish Air Force reported the crash of a C-101 training jet off La Manga del Mar Menor on Monday. The aircraft went down during a training flight, and the crash claimed the life of the pilot, air force academy instructor Cmdr. Francisco Marín Núñez. The search for the plane's wreckage has resumed and Turia's sister ships Sella and Tambre have rejoined the effort.