US submarine hits underwater object in South China Sea

US submarine hits underwater object in South China Sea

US submarine hits underwater object in South China Sea

Written by Staff Writer

09 Oct, 2021 | 5:07 pm

(CNN) A US nuclear powered submarine struck an object underwater in the South China Sea on Saturday, according to two defense officials.

A number of sailors on board the USS Connecticut were injured in the accident, the officials said.

None of the injuries were life-threatening, according to a statement from US Pacific Fleet.

It’s unclear what the Seawolf-class submarine may have hit while it was submerged.

“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 said.

“The incident will be investigated.” The US Navy did not specify the incident took place in the South China Sea, only that it occurred in international waters in the Indo-Pacific region.

The accident happened as tensions between the US and China soared over the Chinese military’s incursions into Taiwan’s Air Defense Identification Zone (ADIZ).

The Connecticut was operating in the waters around the South China Sea as the US and its allies have been carrying out a major multinational show of force in the region led by the United Kingdom’s Carrier Strike Group 21.

The ongoing operations saw exercises with ships from the US, UK, Japan, Australia, Canada, and the Netherlands, including three aircraft carriers, training in and around the South China Sea.

On Saturday, 39 Chinese military aircraft, including fighter jets and transport aircraft, entered Taiwan’s ADIZ, causing the Taiwanese air force to scramble jets and deploy air defense missiles to monitor the aircraft.

Two days later, China sent 56 aircraft into Taiwan’s ADIZ within 24 hours, the highest number since the self-governed island began publicly releasing such numbers last year.

“We are very concerned by the PRC’s provocative military activity near Taiwan,” US Secretary of State Tony Blinken told reporters at a news conference in Paris Wednesday when asked about the Chinese activity. “As we said, the activity is destabilizing. It risks miscalculation and it has the potential to undermine regional peace and stability.

So, we strongly urge Beijing to cease its military, diplomatic and economic pressure and coercion directed at Taiwan.”

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