Vice President Mike Pence abruptly canceled a trip to New Hampshire Tuesday for reasons that were not immediately clear.
Pence had been scheduled to meet with former patients at a drug addiction treatment center and comment on the opioid crisis.
Reporters waiting for his arrival in New Hampshire tweeted around 11:30 a.m. that Randy Gentry, a representative from Pence’s office, announced the event was canceled.
Something came up that required the @VP to remain in Washington, DC. It’s no cause for alarm. He looks forward to rescheduling the trip to New Hampshire very soon.
— Alyssa Farah (@VPPressSec) July 2, 2019
A White House official confirmed there was no medical issue related to the president or the vice president.
White House aides were working as usual and there appeared to be no sense of alarm in the building. The White House called a lid until 1 p.m., a common occurrence which meant reporters were free to get lunch without missing an unexpected appearance by the president.
But the sudden cancellation created confusion among White House and political reporters.
There is some speculation that the sudden cancellation has to do with a fire aboard a super secret Russian submarine.
The fire killed 14 Russian sailors, the Russian Defense Ministry said Tuesday without giving the cause of the blaze or saying if there were survivors.
The ministry didn’t name the vessel that caught fire Monday, but Russian media reported it was Russia’s most secret submarine, a nuclear-powered vessel designed for sensitive missions at great ocean depths.
Russian President Vladimir Putin also canceled a scheduled appearance and summoned his defense minister to get briefed on the situation.
The Defense Ministry’s statement said the submersible is intended for studying the seabed but didn’t give its name or type. Russia’s RBC online news outlet reported it was the nuclear-powered AS-12 Losharik.
The Losharik, which entered service in 2010, is the most advanced and most obscure Russian submarine. It’s named after a Soviet-era cartoon character, a toy horse made of small spheres.
The name is apparently explained by the unique design of its internal hull, which is made of several titanium spheres capable of withstanding high pressure at great depths.
In 2012, the Losharik was involved in research intended to prove Russia’s claim on the vast Arctic seabed. It collected samples from the depth of 8,202 feet, according to official statements at the time. Regular submarines can typically dive to depths of up to 2,000 feet.
Some observers speculated the Losharik was even capable of going as deep as 19,685 feet, but the claims couldn’t be independently confirmed. Analysts suggested that one of its possible missions could be disrupting communication cables on the ocean bed.
The Losharik is carried under the hull of a mother submarine, the nuclear-powered Orenburg.
Russian news reports said that while the Losharik officially belongs to the Northern Fleet, it answers directly to the Defense Ministry’s Department for Deep-Sea Research, reflecting the high sensitivity of its missions.
The Russian navy also uses Priz-class and Bester-class deep-water vehicles, which have a hull built of titanium and are capable of operating at a depth of 1,000 meters (3,281 feet). The small vehicles have a crew of two and are primarily intended for rescuing submariners in case of incidents. Such vessels are transported to the area of operation by a carrier vessel and can operate autonomously for up to 120 hours.
The blaze marks the most serious Russian naval incident since 2008, when 20 died when a firefighting system was accidentally initiated while the Nerpa nuclear-powered submarine of Russia’s Pacific Fleet was undergoing trials.
In the deadliest naval incident in post-Soviet Russia, the Kursk nuclear submarine exploded and sank on Aug. 12, 2000, during naval maneuvers in the Barents Sea, killing all 118 crewmembers.
The Associated Press contributed to this article