Oceanography is Risky Business

Earlier this year, the dazed crew of a Japanese Trawler was plucked out of the Sea of Japan clinging to the wreckage of their sunken ship.

Their rescue, however, was followed by immediate imprisonment once authorities questioned the sailors on their ship's loss. To a man they claimed that a cow, falling out of a clear blue sky, had struck the trawler amidships, shattering it's hull and sinking the vessel within minutes.

They remained in prison for several weeks, until the Russian Air Force reluctantly informed Japanese authorities that the crew of one of its cargo planes had apparently stolen a cow wandering at the edge of a Siberian airfield, forced the cow into the plane's hold and hastily taken off for home.

Unprepared for live cargo, the Russian crew was ill-equipped to manage a now rampaging cow within its hold. To save the aircraft and themselves, they shoved the animal out of the cargo hold as they crossed the Sea of Japan at an altitude of 30,000 feet.

Dr. Steven G. Ackleson
Environmental Optics Team Leader
Office of Naval Research

Return
Washington Apple Pi IFAQ