[an error occurred while processing this directive]
BBC News
watch One-Minute World News
Last Updated: Sunday, 31 December 2006, 12:21 GMT
Dead US submarine crew are named
USS Minneapolis-St Paul
The nuclear-powered submarine is based at Norfolk, Virginia
The United States Navy has named two of its submarine servicemen who died after falling overboard in UK waters.

They were among four crewmen who were working in poor weather on the outside casing of the USS Minneapolis-St Paul in Plymouth Sound, Devon, on Friday.

The men were taken to hospital, where two of them were pronounced dead.

The dead men were named as Senior Chief Thomas Higgins, 45, of Paducah, Kentucky, and Petty Officer 2nd Class Michael Holtz, 30, of Lakewood, Ohio.

The US Navy said in a statement on Sunday that the cause of the accident remained under investigation.

A joint inquiry is being carried out by Devon and Cornwall Police, the United States Navy and the Ministry of Defence (MoD).

'Sad loss'

The nuclear-powered submarine was leaving Plymouth's Devonport naval base at the time of the incident after a week's stay.

Map showing scene of incident

Coastguards said the four sailors were tied to the 110m (362ft) vessel and were being "battered about" by the weather.

The men were taken to Derriford Hospital in Plymouth, where Senior Chief Higgins and Petty Officer Holtz were pronounced dead.

The two other men were treated for minor injuries and transferred to the sick bay at the HMS Drake to recover.

The submarine pilot, the two rescued sailors and MoD personnel who were escorting the vessel out of the port were being questioned by police in the inquiry.

They may also speak to personnel aboard the submarine.

A US Navy spokesman said: "Our thoughts and sympathies are first and foremost with the families and loved ones of the sailors who sadly lost their lives in this incident."

The Virginia-based submarine has been operating under the US Sixth Fleet since October.

It has a complement of 137 officers and enlisted crew and can reach speeds exceeding 25 knots (29mph). Its weapons include torpedoes and Tomahawk cruise missiles.




SEE ALSO

RELATED INTERNET LINKS
The BBC is not responsible for the content of external internet sites



FEATURES, VIEWS, ANALYSIS
Has China's housing bubble burst?
How the world's oldest clove tree defied an empire
Why Royal Ballet principal Sergei Polunin quit

PRODUCTS & SERVICES

Americas Africa Europe Middle East South Asia Asia Pacific