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U.S. Sailor Dies in Nuclear Submarine Accident

A U.S. sailor died after sustaining injuries in a submarine accident a day earlier in the western Pacific, according to a statement from the U.S. Pacific Fleet.

The sailor "Machinist Mate 2nd Class Joseph Allen Ashley, 24, of Akron, Ohio, died from injuries suffered during the accident," said Lt. Adam Clampitt of the Pacific Fleet. Ashley was one of 24 wounded when the nuclear-powered fast-attack submarine USS San Francisco ran aground about 350 miles south of Guam -- the nearest island -- while it was submerged, the Navy said.

The submarine has now returned to the U.S. naval base in Guam. According to Lt. Clampitt, the USS San Francisco was escorted to port by a variety of U.S. Navy and Coast Guard vessels.

The accident happened Saturday around noon Guam time and a Navy medical team was immediately dispatched to the sub. The team arrived Sunday morning to treat the wounded, but the one sailor died that afternoon, Clampitt said.

The medical team remained on board the submarine, while it slowly returned to Guam, to treat the other 23 injured crew members for a range of injuries including broken bones, cuts, bruises and a back injury.

Navy sources said the submarine was en route to Brisbane, Australia, for a port visit at the time of the accident.

Lt. Clampitt said there was no damage to the nuclear reactor. The submarine did sustain some damage to its exterior.

"The injured sailors are being treated at a U.S. military medical facility on Guam and will be transferred to other facilities -- possibly Pearl Harbor in Hawaii or Okinawa in Japan -- as necessary," Clampitt said.

137 crew members were on board at the time of the accident.