Several Sailors' Bodies Found on Stricken Navy Destroyer


The 10,000-ton guided-missile destroyer and the ACX Crystal, a 29,000-ton container ship flagged in the Philippines, collided early Saturday local time off Japan's Izu Peninsula, officials said.

Aucoin said the Navy will launch an investigation into the collision because "we owe it to our families and the Navy to understand what happened".

The mother of a U.S. Navy sailor said her son kept diving to try to save his shipmates after a collision at sea until their flooded sleeping berth began running out of air pockets, while other survivors - believing their ship was under attack - hurried to man the guns.

The Japanese coast guard questioned crew members of the ACX Crystal, and is treating the incident as a case of possible professional negligence, said Masayuki Obara, a regional coast guard official. The Dewey, another guided missile-destroyer, and two Navy tugs had been dispatched to provide assistance.

The collision between the 10,000-ton USS Fitzgerald and the 29,000-ton merchant vessel ACX Crystal occurred early Saturday local time almost 60 miles from the coast of Japan. Bryce Benson, were injured and required medical evacuation, according to the Navy's 7th Fleet.

Their bodies had been transferred to the Naval Hospital in Yokosuka, where the Seventh Fleet is based, for identification, Aucoin told reporters on June 18.

The Navy's 7th Fleet said in a statement Saturday night that search and rescue crews located the missing sailors in the flooded berthing compartments that were damaged during the collision.

"There was a big puncture, a big gash underneath the waterline" along the bottom of the ship, Aucoin said.

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Seven members were missing and three injured after the USS Fitzgerald collided with the container ship ACX Crystal. The two other sailors suffered cuts and bruises.

Conditions were clear at the time of the collision, though the area is particularly busy with sea traffic.

A Navy spokesman said the victims might have been killed by the impact of the collision or drowned in the flooding.

A United States defense officials told CNN the Navy will soon announce the first of what is likely to be multiple investigations into the collision.

The 154-metre Fitzgerald - commissioned in 1995 and deployed in the Iraq war in 2003 - was pulled by a tugboat back to its base on Saturday, where divers searched damaged areas of the destroyer. They are especially congested in the early hours of the day, with ships carrying cargo for early morning delivery in Tokyo. The Philippine-flagged ship reportedly made a sudden U-turn about 25 minutes before the accident.

But on Sunday, a group of accident investigators from the Japanese transport ministry found damage to the container ship that had been hidden under the waterline when it arrived in Tokyo the previous night.

The ACX Crystal, which was carrying a crew of 20, was only "slightly damaged" in the crash, according to the Philippine Department of Foreign Affairs, and no injuries were reported. The Navy said in a statement that Cmdr.

U.S. President Donald Trump thanked Japan for its help in the search.