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Navy temporarily loses communication with sub off Fla.
March 14, 2007
NORFOLK, Va. -- The Navy temporarily lost communication with the USS San Juan off the coast of Jacksonville, Fla., before communications were re-established early Wednesday, officials said.
There were no problems with the Los Angeles class submarine, based in Groton, Conn., the Naval Submarine Force said in a statement. The communication lag was not explained, and the Navy continued to investigate the incident on Wednesday, spokesman Phil McGuinn said.
"Fortunately, the submarine established communications in the early morning hours ... and indicated that there were no problems; hence, units were able to stand down from the search and rescue that was already well under way," the Navy said in a release.
Units of the USS Enterprise Carrier Strike Group saw a red flare in the vicinity of the missing submarine Tuesday night, McGuinn said.
Ships and aircraft immediately started searching the area where the submarine was operating and also contacted the International Submarine Escape and Rescue Liaison Office in Norfolk to assist with the efforts. Family members also were notified.
Navy officials started a phone tree to notify family members around 4 a.m. that a search and rescue effort had begun, said Lt. Mark Jones, a Navy spokesman in Groton. Family members were called again at about 6 a.m. once communications were re-established, Jones said.
"We want to keep them informed as we are informed," Jones said. "Everyone was very appreciative of keeping them informed."
There were about 140 sailors on board, Jones said.
Although it was a false alarm, the Navy said it was concerned with the safety of those aboard the sub. Procedures indicated that its escape and rescue program is able to quickly respond, the Navy said.