KITTERY, Maine (NEWS CENTER) -- Fifty years after the sinking of the USS Thresher, considered to be the world's worst submarine disaster, hundreds gathered in Kittery to dedicate a memorial to the 129 victims.
One foot for each man lost in the accident, a 129 foot flag pole now stands in the center of the Kittery Memorial Circle on Route 1.
Built in Kittery's Portsmouth Naval Shipyard, the USS Thresher sank in 1963 while completing dive trials 220 miles east of Boston.
A leaky pipe sprayed water on the ship's electrical grid, shutting down the ship's reactor and causing it to sink and implode in 8,400 feet of water. All 129 men on board were lost.
After the accident on the Thresher, the US Navy improved submarine safety measures, implementing a new SUBSAFE program.
"Every safe voyage, every crisis survived since that terrible time are the legacy of the USS Thresher," said Senator Susan Collins at the memorial dedication in Kittery.
Family members of the victims were also present Sunday morning.
"It's not like [the Thresher] has been completely forgotten, but the younger generations, they don't think of the Cold War," said John Currier, who lost his father, Paul, in the accident.
"It's a good thing that the guys are remembered."