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11 sailors injured in US N-submarine mishap in South China Sea

TAIPEI, Oct 9: The US nuclear submarine, USS Connecticut, has been damaged and several sailors injured in an underwater collision with an unidentified object in South China Sea, according to a delayed report.

Eleven sailors were hurt "with moderate to minor injuries," the US navy said.

The US 7th Fleet told NPR that the USS Connecticut, a Seawolf- class fast attack submarine commissioned more than two decades ago, was in a "safe and stable" condition after the collision.

The navy said in a statement, "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 statement did not say exactly where the underwater collision took place, only that it was in "international waters."

It said the submarine "struck an object while submerged on the afternoon of Oct. 2, while operating in international waters in the Indo-Pacific region."

USNI News that covers naval developments said the vessel is now headed to the US base at Guam.

USNI News also said the submarine was operating in the South China Sea, where the US Navy has sought to challenge China's disputed territorial claims on small islands, reefs and outcrops.

The last time a US submarine struck an underwater object was in 2005, when the USS San Francisco hit a seamount, or underwater mountain, near Guam while 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, NPR reported.

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