A U.S. Navy investigation tasked with looking into the events that led to a nuclear submarine crashing into an “uncharted seamount” in the South China Sea last fall found the mishap was “preventable.”
The Oct. 2 underwater crash of the USS Connecticut that put the submarine out of commission for months happened because of navigation planning and risk management mistakes, among other errors, according to a final investigative report by Rear Adm. Christopher Cavanaugh.
“This mishap was preventable. It resulted from an accumulation of errors and omissions in navigation planning, watch team execution, and risk management that fell far below U.S. Navy standards,” an executive summary of the investigation’s findings reads. “Prudent decision-making and adherence to required procedures in any of these three areas could have prevented the grounding.”
Eleven sailors suffered minor injuries in the incident, and the submarine’s nuclear propulsion was damaged. Leaders aboard the submarine during the underwater crash were relieved of their duties in November.
Three additional crew members are recommended to be relieved of their positions after the investigation.
The investigation team, composed of one investigator and 13 other personnel, reviewed documents, interviewed witnesses, and conducted inspections aboard the vessel.
The Connecticut is expected to be out of operation for an “extended period of time” due to the damage sustained in the incident, the report states.