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Tugboat Sinks After Collision With Trident Submarine

March 23, 1986

HONOLULU (AP) _ A tugboat accidentally struck a Trident submarine off Midway island and sank, and two of the tug’s crewmen were missing, the Navy said Sunday.

The Navy tugboat Secota, based at Midway, was sent Saturday to the USS Georgia three miles south of the mid-Pacific island to pick up a submarine crewman who was going on emergency leave, said Lt. Cmdr. John Carman, a spokesman for the U.S. Pacific Fleet.

After the crewman was transferred to the tug, the vessel lost power, hit the Georgia’s diving plane, a horizontal control structure like a wing, and sank within two minutes, Carman said.

The submarine was not damaged, he said. He refused to say if there were any Trident missiles, which can be armed with nuclear warheads, on board at the time.

Ten people aboard the tugboat were rescued, including the Georgia crewman, before the Secota went down, Carman said.

Two of the survivors were treated aboard the Georgia, but their conditions were not immediately known, Carman said.

The two missing men were Sri Lankan nationals, he said. The tug was operated by a civilian crew working for Base Services International.

The accident was under investigation, Carman said.

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