A US nuclear submarine was damaged and some crew members were injured when it “struck an unknown object” while operating at depth a week ago in one of the most sensitive bodies of water on the planet, the South China Sea.
The US Navy confirmed in a statement on Thursday that the USS Connecticut, a nuclear-powered fast-attack submarine, struck the unidentified object on October 2, "while operating in international waters in the Indo-Pacific region."
The submarine is returning to port in US 7th Fleet, a US Pacific Fleet spokesman told USNI News..
“The Seawolf-class fast-attack submarine USS Connecticut (SSN-22) struck an object while submerged on the afternoon of October 2, while operating in international waters in the Indo-Pacific region. The safety of the crew remains the Navy’s top priority. There are no life-threatening injuries,” Capt Bill Clinton said.
“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 extent of damage to the remainder of the submarine is being assessed. The US Navy has not requested assistance. The incident will be investigated.”
The collision comes amid escalating tensions in the region, and the same weekend that the US and UK aircraft carriers conducted military exercises with Japan and Canada, the Netherlands and New Zealand just north of Taiwan.
US Navy officials told the Washington Post they did not believe that China caused the collision and that the vessel was monitored by other US vessels in the region as it moved to Guam.