US Nuclear Sub Hit Something in 'Difficult Undersea Environment'

USS Connecticut was in the South China Sea at the time
By Evann Gastaldo,  Newser Staff
Posted Oct 8, 2021 12:03 AM CDT
Updated Oct 8, 2021 1:00 AM CDT
US Nuclear Submarine Hits Something, Injuring 11
In this Monday, March 12, 2012 photo, a sentry patrols beside the USS Connecticut, a Sea Wolf-class nuclear attack submarine, during a port call at a U.S. naval base at Yokosuka, south of Tokyo, Japan.   (AP Photo/Greg Baker)

(Newser) – The USS Connecticut, a nuclear-powered submarine, hit a submerged object in the South China Sea Saturday, leaving 11 sailors with non-life-threatening injuries, sources tell CNN. "The submarine remains in a safe and stable condition. USS Connecticut's nuclear propulsion plant and spaces were not affected and remain fully operational," says a statement from the US Navy's Pacific Fleet. "The incident will be investigated." Two of the soldiers suffered moderate injuries while the others had scrapes and bruises, the Guardian reports.

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The US and allies including the UK, Japan, Australia, Canada, and the Netherlands have been carrying out training operations in and around the South China Sea, which is why the Connecticut, a multibillion-dollar Seawolf-class sub, was there. Officials say it has since headed to port at Guam and should arrive within days, the Washington Post reports. The incident was purposely kept quiet for a few days while the crew traveled there, sources say.

"The extent of damage to the remainder of the submarine is being assessed," the statement says. One unnamed official says it was not another submarine the Connecticut struck, but could have been a sunken vessel or shipping container. CNN notes the sub was operating "in one of the world's most difficult undersea environments, one filled with noise from ships above and a seabed with constantly shifting contours that can surprise any submarine crew." (US-China tensions have recently increased over the Chinese military encroaching on Taiwan's Air Defense Identification Zone.)

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