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Navy Submarine and Cruiser Collide Off Florida

(NEW YORK) -- Two Navy vessels collided Saturday afternoon off the coast of northeastern Florida, but there were no injuries aboard the submarine and cruiser involved in the collision.

According to a Navy statement the submarine USS Montpelier (SSN 765) and the Aegis cruiser USS San Jacinto (CG 56) collided at approximately 3:30 p.m. ET.

The statement adds that there were no injuries aboard either ship and that the submarine’s nuclear powered reactor “was unaffected by this collision.”

The incident is under investigation.

A Navy official says the two ships were participating in a “group sail” along with another vessel.  The three ships were participating in an anti-submarine exercise in preparation for an upcoming deployment as part of the strike group for the aircraft carrier USS Harry S Truman.

The Navy official says that at approximately 3:30 p.m. the bridge watch aboard the San Jacinto saw the submarine Montpelier rise to periscope depth about 100 to 200 yards ahead of them.  The bridge ordered an “all back,” but still collided with the sub.

According to the official, the initial assessment of damage is that there was a complete depressurization of the sonar dome aboard the San Jacinto. Located below the water line of surface warships, sonar domes provide the bulbous shape to the bows of warships.

After the collision the official said the submarine surfaced and communications were established between all the ships on the scene.

The carrier USS Harry S Truman is also there, available to provide assistance.

The two ships involved in the collision are both operating under their own power.

Collisions between Navy submarines and surface warships are rare.

In March, 2009 the submarine USS Hartford suffered severe damage to its Con tower after colliding with the amphibious transport ship USS New Orleans in the Strait of Hormuz.  The subsequent investigation found fault for the collision lay with the commanders aboard the submarine. Several officers and crew aboard the submarine were later disciplined for their roles.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio

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