A U.S. nuclear submarine hit an object in the South China Sea last Saturday, CNN reported, citing two defense officials.
A Navy official confirmed to The Hill that multiple people were injured and characterized the injuries as bumps and scrapes. The Navy declined to confirm the location of the incident, but in a statement said the incident occurred in “international waters in the Indo-Pacific region.”
“The Seawolf-class fast-attack submarine USS Connecticut (SSN 22) struck an object while submerged on the afternoon of Oct. 2,” the U.S. Pacific Fleet said in a statement on Thursday. “The safety of the crew remains the Navy’s top priority. There are no life threatening injuries.”
The U.S. Pacific Fleet noted in its statement that the submarine was in stable condition and that its “nuclear propulsion plant and spaces were not affected and remain fully operational.”
The statement mentioned that an investigation would be conducted regarding the circumstances around the incident, and the extent of the damage, but noted the U.S. Pacific Fleet did not request help from any agencies.
According to CNN, the USS Connecticut had been in the South China Sea as ships from countries including the U.S., Australia, the United Kingdom and Japan sought to demonstrate their military prowess.
Those exercises come as China has demonstrated its military force by flying military aircraft into Taiwan’s Air Defense Identification Zone. Last Friday, China flew two rounds of military aircraft toward Taiwan, and an additional round of 20 aircraft on Saturday — moves that appeared to intimidate Taiwan, which China asserts is part of China’s territory.
Responding to the show of air force, State Department spokesman Ned Price said in a statement the U.S. is “very concerned” and said the flights were “destabilizing, risks miscalculations, and undermines regional peace and stability.”