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US submarine crashes into object in South China Sea, injuries reported

USS Connecticut (SSN 22) file photo. (U.S. Navy/Thiep Van Nguyen II)
October 07, 2021

A U.S. nuclear-powered submarine collided with an underwater object while carrying out submerged operations in the Indo-Pacific region on Saturday, according to Navy information just released on Thursday.

The U.S. Navy’s Pacific Fleet disclosed the incident in a press release on Thursday, five days after the incident involving the Seawolf-class fast-attack submarine USS Connecticut (SSN-22).

The Pacific Fleet said the submarine was operating in international waters in the Indo-Pacific region, but did not describe a more precise location where the accident occurred. Fox News reporter Lucas Tomlinson tweeted, based on claims from unnamed U.S. officials, that the collision occurred somewhere in the South China Sea.

“US Navy submarine hits unknown ‘object’ in South China Sea while submerged on Oct 2: US officials,” Tomlinson tweeted. “USS Connecticut now limping back to port with ‘no life threatening injuries’ aboard. No damage to nuclear reactor. US submarine did not collide with another sub, official says.”

The press statement said “there are no life threatening injuries” as a result of the underwater collision.

USNI News also reported the incident occurred in the South China Sea and an official said as many as 11 sailors sustained moderate to minor injuries. The submarine is heading to Guam and is expected to pull in within the next day, according to the official.

“The submarine remains in a safe and stable condition. USS Connecticut’s nuclear propulsion plant and spaces were not affected and remain fully operational,” the Pacific Fleet statement said. “The extent of damage to the remainder of the submarine is being assessed. The U.S. Navy has not requested assistance. The incident will be investigated.”

In June of 2017, an Arleigh Burke-class destroyer USS Fitzgerald (DDG-62) collided with a Japanese container ship, resulting in the deaths of seven sailors and serious damage to the ship.

Two months later, in August of 2017, the ArleighBurke-class destroyer USS John C. McCain (DDG-56) collided with a Liberian tanker ship in the waters east of Singapore, near the Strait of Malacca. That collision resulted in the deaths of another 10 sailors.

The USS Connecticut is one of three Sea Wolf-class submarines, a late Cold War-era attack submarine designed to hunt advanced Soviet submarines. The other two Sea Wolf-class submarines are the USS Sea Wolf (SSN-21) and the USS Jimmy Carter (SSN-23).

The USS Connecticut was commissioned in December of 1998.