Submarine force: Sailor shot himself aboard sub

Members of the Coast Guard, New London Fire Department and Submarine Base Fire Department wait at Fort Trumbull for a boat carrying an injured sailor on Friday, Jan. 12, 2018. Cmdr. Sarah Self-Kyler, spokeswoman for the Submarine Force Atlantic, said a USS North Dakota sailor is in stable condition following a self-inflicted gunshot wound at sea and the Navy is investigating.  (Sarah Gordon/The Day)
Members of the Coast Guard, New London Fire Department and Submarine Base Fire Department wait at Fort Trumbull for a boat carrying an injured sailor on Friday, Jan. 12, 2018. Cmdr. Sarah Self-Kyler, spokeswoman for the Submarine Force Atlantic, said a USS North Dakota sailor is in stable condition following a self-inflicted gunshot wound at sea and the Navy is investigating. (Sarah Gordon/The Day)

New London — A sailor had to be medically evacuated from a submarine for a self-inflicted gunshot wound Friday night, according to a Submarine Force Atlantic spokeswoman.

“A USS North Dakota sailor is in stable condition following a self-inflicted gunshot wound at sea,” Cmdr. Sarah Self-Kyler told The Day late Friday. She said the wound was intentional and the submarine was coordinating his transport to a shore-based facility for further treatment.

The Navy, which as a policy doesn't comment on submarine operations, is investigating the incident.

It was not clear what kind of gun was used. Sailors are not allowed to bring their personal weapons aboard but submarines have government-issued firearms for force protection.

“Our thoughts are with the sailor's family, friends and the crew of the North Dakota,” Self-Kyler said.

Around 10:20 p.m., vehicles from the New London Fire Department, Navy Region Mid-Atlantic Fire and Emergency Services, and Yale New Haven Health arrived at Fort Trumbull.

The crews awaited the arrival of the patient, underneath lights that struggled to cut through rain and heavy fog.

New London fire crews departed about 11:20 p.m., while Naval Submarine Base fire crews remained. At that point, New London Battalion Chief Edward Sargent said it might be another hour until the patient arrived, and that the patient could either be coming to Fort Trumbull or to the sub base directly.

“They have communication with the ship, the boat, so they’re waiting to get direction from the Navy,” Sargent said of the sub base fire department.

The North Dakota is a Virginia-class attack submarine based in Groton. Each Virginia sub has an independent duty corpsman aboard who is trained to perform medical duties such as triage.

No further details were immediately available.

Day Staff Writers Julia Bergman and Erica Moser contributed to this report.

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