A U.S. Navy submarine collides with an underwater object in the South China Sea

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The USS Connecticut departs Puget Sound Naval Shipyard for sea trials on Dec. 15, 2016. The Navy says the submarine collided on Oct. 2 with an unspecified underwater object in international waters in the South China Sea.

Thiep Van Nguyen II/AP

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Thiep Van Nguyen II/AP

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The statement did not say exactly where the underwater collision took place, only that it was in «international waters.»

Officials quoted by The Associated Press said it wasn’t clear what the Connecticut had struck, but that it was not another submarine.

The 7th Fleet’s statement said that the Navy had «not requested assistance,» while a defense official quoted by USNI News said the submarine had steamed to Guam «on the surface.» A U.S. official confirmed to NPR that the Connecticut had arrived in port.

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The last time a U.S. submarine is known to have struck an underwater object was in 2005, when the USS San Francisco hit a seamount, or underwater mountain, near Guam traveling at full speed.

The sailors aboard were thrown as far as 20 feet by the impact and the majority of the 137 aboard were injured in the incident, with one killed.

A subsequent investigation determined that the submarine’s charts of the seafloor did not show the seamount.

NPR’s Pentagon correspondent Tom Bowman contributed to this report.

  • south china sea
  • submarine
  • U.S. Navy


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