US nuclear submarine on Guam for assessment after underwater collision

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The Seawolf-class attack submarine USS Connecticut (SSN 22) underway in the Pacific Ocean Nov. 17, 2009. (U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist Seaman Adam K. Thomas/Released).

A U.S. Navy nuclear-powered attack submarine collided with an unknown submerged object this weekend while traveling through international waters in the Pacific Ocean, according to the Navy.

Officials said the submarine is now on U.S. Naval Base Guam where a damage assessment of the submarine’s hull could help determine what the vessel struck underwater.

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The Navy describes the submarine as being in “safe and stable” condition and said it is making its way to port for a damage assessment that could help determine what it struck.

“The Seawolf-class fast-attack submarine USS Connecticut (SSN 22) struck an object while submerged on the afternoon of Oct. 2, while operating in international waters in the Indo-Pacific region,” said a statement from the Navy’s Pacific Fleet. “The safety of the crew remains the Navy’s top priority. There are no life-threatening injuries.”

Two sailors aboard the submarine were treated for what a Navy official described as “moderate injuries” and additional sailors received bumps, bruises, and lacerations.

“The submarine remains in a safe and stable condition,” said the statement. “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 U.S. Navy has not requested assistance. The incident will be investigated.”

Officials said it remained unclear what the submarine struck while underwater. They said it could include stationary objects like a sea mount, an underwater sea mountain, or an object being towed by a surface vessel.

 

(By Luis Martinez / ABC News)