A Navy-affiliated news outlet reported Thursday that a US nuclear attack submarine had been damaged in the Western Pacific after suffering an "underwater collision" - although it's not clear what the sub collided with. The collision took place on Oct. 2.
The Seawolf-class nuclear submarine the USS Connecticut is now returning to port in the US 7th Fleet in Guam, where it's expected to arrive within the next day. The Navy says the safety of the crew remains its top priority.
"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. The safety of the crew remains the Navy’s top priority. There are no life-threatening injuries," Capt. Bill Clinton told USNI News.
"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."
A Navy official said 11 sailors were injured during the incident, suffering moderate to minor injuries.
The USS Connecticut is one of three Sea Wolf-class subs, an attack sub design first deployed late in the Cold War to hunt the most advanced Soviet submarines in deep blue water. Along with USS Sea Wolf and USS Jimmy Carter, the Connecticut is among the Navy’s most capable and sensitive attack boats, according to USNI.
The Connecticut is based at the Naval Base in Kitsap-Bremerton, Washington and was deployed on May 27 to the Pacific, the Navy announced at the time. The service has released photographs of the sub operating in the Western Pacific with port calls in Japan in late July and August.
Admiral Karl Thomas, commander of the 7th Fleet, visited the submarine in August.
Details of the incident remain vague, and it's unclear whether the sub collided with another submarine, or something else.