A nuclear-powered US Navy attack submarine struck an object while submerged in the international waters of the South China Sea, officials said.
Eleven sailors were injured – two sustained moderate injuries and the rest had minor scrapes and bruises, officials said. All were treated on the submarine.
In a brief statement Thursday that provided few details about the incident, which occurred five days ago, the U.S. Pacific Fleet said the USS Connecticut remained in a “safe and stable condition,” which ‘there had been no fatal injuries and the submarine was still fully operational.
The nuclear propulsion plant of the Seawolf-class submarine was not affected, he added.
“The extent of the damage to the rest of the submarine is being assessed,” the statement said, adding that the incident will be investigated.
The statement did not specify the location of the incident, but two naval officials, speaking on condition of anonymity to discuss details not publicly announced, said it happened in the South China Sea. while Connecticut conducted routine operations.
Officials said the submarine then headed for the port of Guam. They said the incident was not announced until Thursday in order to maintain operational security.
Officials said it was not yet clear what object the submarine struck, but that it was not another submarine. An official said it could have been a sunken ship, a sunken container or some other unknown object.