Navy: Our Nuclear Sub Hit Underwater Mountain

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 Nov 2, 2021 12:11 PM CDT
US Nuclear Submarine Hits Something, Injuring 11
In this 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)

Update: The mystery over an accident involving a US submarine in the South China Sea has been solved: The USS Connecticut smashed into an underwater mountain that wasn't on the charts, reports CBS News. Eleven sailors were injured in the collision last month, and the sub had to sail to Guam on the surface for repairs. Given the locale, one fear had been that the nuclear-powered sub ran into a Chinese counterpart, but the Navy investigation showed otherwise. Our original story from Oct. 7 follows:

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.

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.

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"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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