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U.S. submarine runs aground near Vancouver Island
Tremors reported in area earlier in the day
by NATALIA MANZOCCO
A U.S. Navy surveillance submarine ran aground off the eastern coast of Vancouver Island Thursday.
The USS Kentucky was conducting exercises in the Nanoose Bay Thursday morning, said Donald C. Winter, the U.S. Navy Secretary, in a press conference at the Pentagon. The exact causes and time of the accident are unknown, but tremors and loud explosions were reported by residents in the area around 11:45 a.m.
"We want to thank our Canadian colleagues for their quick response and promised contribution to the search and recovery effort," said Winter. Contact has been made with the Kentucky's Captain Michael Riegel, and there has been no word yet of any casualties among the sub's 173 crew members. Canadian Cormorant helicopters have been sent to patrol the Nanoose Bay area.
The submarine is nuclear-powered, but both Winter and base commander Captain Reid Tanaka have stressed that the sub's nuclear plant is still intact. "We want all residents of the area to rest assured that there has been no damage," said Winter.
B.C. Premier Gordon Campbell has called a press conference in Victoria for 1:30 pm local time. More updates to follow.
With files from Canadian Press, the Toronto Star, the CBC, and Associated Press.