New Delhi: During his early days in the navy, there were two occasions when former US President Jimmy Carter nearly lost his life while serving on submarines, he reveals in his memoir.
In "A Full Life: Reflections at Ninety", Carter, who was the US 39th President from 1977-1981, looks back on moments that changed his life and reflects on some of the memories that are especially important to him.
Some of these events, he says, affected him profoundly or taught him lessons, large and small. Others are amusing, and some makes him contemplate who he was at that time. There are also some that he enjoyed and savoured, and others that he wished had never happened or that he could change.
The first of the two incidents when Carter had a brush with death was during a storm, which he says, exceeded anything he had known.
"I was standing watch on the bridge about two hours after midnight, with my feet on the slatted wooden deck, when I saw an enormous wave dead ahead. I ducked down beneath the chest-high steel protector that surrounded the front of the bridge and locked my arms around the safety rail," he recalls in the book, published by Simon and Schuster.
The wave, however, smothered the ship, several feet above Carter?s head and he was ripped loose, lifted up and carried away from the ship.
"I could only swim around in the turbulent water, striving to reach the surface. This was my first experience with impending death, but when the wave receded I found myself on the main deck directly aft of the bridge and was able to cling to our five-inch gun," he writes.
The second incident took place when some error in opening of valves led to the ship "rolling over to the right as it was driven downwards by our planes at the bow and stern, and we approached the point of capsizing".
Carter says only the furious blowing of high-pressure air into the tanks prevented the loss of the vessel and its crew.
"This was the closest our ship ever came to a total disaster. I realised how fragile was my existence, and how fallible were even the most dedicated and experienced seamen."