World News

Bodies of missing sailors found on stricken Navy destroyer

Bodies of missing sailors found on stricken Navy destroyer

The U.S. Navy destroyer USS Fitzgerald collided with a Philippine container ship off the coast of Japan in the early hours of Saturday morning local time, the Navy's 7th Fleet said.

"I want to highlight the extraordinary courage of the Fitzgerald sailors who contained the flooding, stabilized the ship and sailed her back to Yokosuka despite the exceptionally trying circumstances", Navy Rear Adm. Charles Williams, commander of Task Force 70, said in a release. None of the crew members were injured in the incident.

The accident happened 56 nautical miles (104 kilometers) southwest of the base, the US Navy said.

Aikawa said the USA ship is partially flooded because of damage. "They are safe. The ship itself was slightly damaged from the incident".

"Thoughts and prayers with the sailors of USS Fitzgerald and their families", President Donald Trump wrote in a Twitter message Saturday.

The Philippine Department of Foreign Affairs said it was monitoring reports closely.

The crash involving the USS Fitzgerald guided missile destroyer occurred in a busy waterway about 100km south-west from its home port of Yokosuka Naval Base, south of Tokyo. Three people, including the commanding officer Bryce Benson, were injured in the collision.

He was evacuated by helicopter and was in a stable condition at a United States navy hospital in Yokosuka, where the Seventh Fleet is based, the navy said.

Among them was the USS Fitzgerald's commanding officer, Bryce Benson, who was evacuated by helicopter and was in a stable condition at a USA navy hospital in the Japanese city, the navy said. "We are the parents of a sailor on the USS Fitzgerald".

Benson took command of the Fitzgerald on May 13.

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There was no immediate explanation as to the cause of the collision. The 7th Fleet said early Sunday local time that the search was continuing.

Water was being pumped out of flooded areas and it was unclear how long it would take to get into the crushed mid-right side of the ship.

The Fitzgerald suffered extensive damage above and beneath the waterline on its starboard side.

Investigators now face trying to determine how a sophisticated US warship collided with a container ship four times its size.

None of the 20 Filipino crewmembers were injured, and the ship was not leaking oil, Nippon Yusen said. A total of seven sailors had been missing since Saturday's crash off Japan's coast.

The severely damaged Fitzgerald limped into Yokosuka harbor, and the Pentagon confirms that search efforts are underway for the Fitzgerald's seven missing crew members. Japanese and USA vessels and aircraft fanned out across the scene of the collision, about 12 miles off Japan's Izu peninsula.

The area of collision is a busy shipping channel near major container ports in Yokohoma and Tokyo.

Worldwide maritime rules for collision avoidance do not define right of way for any one vessel, but provide common standards for signaling between ships, as well as regulations on posting lookouts.

The nature of the collision, the maritime equivalent of a T-bone vehicle accident in a busy intersection, suggested the crew of the Crystal could be to blame. The Japan Maritime Self Defense Force ships JS Ohnami, JS Hamagiri, and JS Enshu have joined the JCG ships Izanami and Kano and USS Dewey (DDG 105).

The U.S. 7th Fleet says on its Facebook page that it is working with the Japanese Coast Guard to conduct a medical evacuation for a sailor by helicopter, and that there are now no reports of deaths.

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