South China Sea: US submarine collides with unknown object

World

A US nuclear submarine hit an “unknown object” while submerged in waters in the Asia-Pacific region, injuring a number of sailors, said US officials.

It was not clear what caused the incident on Saturday, they said. The submarine remained “fully operational”.

Unnamed officials said the collision happened in international waters in the South China Sea, and that 11 sailors had been injured.

The incident happened amid rising tensions in the region.

The US Navy said the extent of the damage was still being assessed and that the submarine’s nuclear propulsion plant and spaces had not been affected.

The statement did not give details about where the incident took place or the number of people hurt, saying only that the injuries were not “life threatening”.

But two officials quoted by the Associated Press said two of the 11 sailors that were hurt had injuries that were classified as “moderate”. All of them were treated on board the submarine.

Those officials said the incident took place while the submarine was conducting routine operations and that the Navy did not make the news public before Thursday in order to maintain operational security.

The object the USS Connecticut collided with was not another submarine. One of the officials said it would have been a sunken vessel or container, or other uncharted object.

The submarine was later reported to be heading towards the US territory of Guam.

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