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Virginia Navy Training Accident Injures 7

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JACKSONVILLE, FL - NOVEMBER 09: A view from the deck of the USS Bataan is the host to the Navy-Marine Corps Classic between the Florida Gators and the Georgetown Hoyas aboard the USS Bataan at Mayport Naval Air Station on November 9, 2012 in Jacksonville, Florida.  (Photo by Chris Trotman/Getty Images)
JACKSONVILLE, FL - NOVEMBER 09: A view from the deck of the USS Bataan is the host to the Navy-Marine Corps Classic between the Florida Gators and the Georgetown Hoyas aboard the USS Bataan at Mayport Naval Air Station on November 9, 2012 in Jacksonville, Florida. (Photo by Chris Trotman/Getty Images)

NORFOLK, Va. -- Four sailors and three civilian instructors were injured Monday morning when an inflatable boat collided with a ship near the Virginia coast during a training exercise, the Navy said.

The collision occurred near Thimble Shoal Channel, one of the primary maritime routes through the Hampton Roads region, U.S. Fleet Forces Command said. The channel passes through the Chesapeake Bay Bridge-Tunnel.

Two sailors and two civilians were released after being treated at a Virginia Beach hospital, said Fleet Forces spokeswoman Lt. Reann Mommsen.

One civilian and one sailor remained under hospital observation late Monday, although their injuries were considered non-life threatening, she said. The fourth sailor was treated for minor injuries at Joint Expeditionary Base Little Creek-Fort Story in Virginia Beach.

The sailors were assigned to the Norfolk-based amphibious assault ship USS Bataan. The civilians worked for the Center for Security Forces, based at Little Creek. The Navy command is responsible for developing and providing anti-terrorism and security force training.

The training exercise was being conducted in support of a search and seizure course for the crew involving the ship, USNS Big Horn. But Mommsen said the inflatable boat's crew was not attempting to board the ship at the time of the collision.

The ship the length of more than two football fields is a fleet replenishment oiler that refuels and resupplies ships at sea.

The Navy says it is investigating the collision.

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Brock Vergakis can be reached at www.twitter.com/BrockVergakis

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