A U.S. Navy nuclear submarine collided with a cruiser Saturday afternoon during a routine training exercise off the coast of northeastern Florida, according to officials.
No service members either aboard USS Montpelier or USS San Jacinto were injured in the crash, Pentagon officials said, adding that the sub’s nuclear reaction ‘was unaffected by this collision.’
The incident took place while Montpelier, a nuclear-powered Los Angeles-class fast attack submarine, and San Jacinto, an Aegis-class missile cruiser, were participating in a ‘group sail’ along with another vessel.
ABC reported that the vessels were preparing for an upcoming deployment as part of the strike group for the aircraft carrier USS Harry S Truman, which was also on hand.
According to a Navy official, at around 3.30pm, the bridge watch aboard the San Jacinto saw the sub rise to periscope depth less than 200 yards ahead of them.
The bridge ordered ‘all back,’ but it was too late and the vessel slammed into the Montpelier.
As a result of the collision, the sonar dome of the missile cruiser became completely depressurized. Located below the water line of surface warships, sonar domes give the bows of warships their signature globular shape.
Following the smashup, the submarine surfaced and all the ships on the scene established lines of communications.
Lt. Commander Brian Badura of the Fleet Forces Command said late Saturday that such collisions have taken place in the past but are unusual. He said that typically when an incident occurs, a team will swing into action to determine ‘exactly what happened.’
The two Norfolk, Virginia-based vessels were said to be operating under their own power.
The Montpelier was launched in 1991, three years after the San Jacinto, according to NBC.