Yokosuka [Japan], June 18: The bodies of the sailors who have been missing after USS Fitzgerald collided with a merchant ship off the coast of Japan, have been found, according to Navy’s 7th fleet.
Seven sailors were reported missing when the collision happened, but not all of those missing were recovered, US Navy spokeswoman Yoko Kato said.
Earlier in the day, the US Navy’s 7th Fleet said five sailors were injured and seven sailors were missing, Those injured were transferred by a helicopter to the Naval Hospital Yokosuka.
Aucoin declined to say how many were found.
Numerous 285 sailors would have been asleep on board at the time.
Two berthing spaces, a machinery room and the radio room were damaged and began taking in water after the destroyer was rammed mid-right side of the ship.
The victims might have been killed by the impact of the collision or drowned in the flooding, said Navy spokesman Lt. Paul Newell, who led the media on a visit to get a firsthand look at the mangled destroyer. All three were in stable condition at the US Naval Hospital, said Cmdr.
The navy said that the families of those who were found were being notified and provided the support they need during “this hard time”.
The sailors, whose names were not released last night, had been the focus of a massive search by the Japanese Coast Guard, which was the first to arrive at the scene of the pre-dawn collision involving the USS Fitzgerald and was in charge of the rescue efforts.
U.S. and Japanese aircraft and surface vessels continued the search after the Fitzgerald sailed into the port of Yokosuka south of Tokyo.
Reports say the sailors were trapped inside the ship, which then took on water.
The bodies were being transferred to a USA naval hospital where they will be identified. “They are now being transferred to Naval Hospital Yokosuka where they will be identified”, the statement read. “I am humbled by the bravery and tenacity of the Fitzgerald crew”.
Naval commanders praised the sailors for containing flooding caused by the collision, stabilizing the ship and sailing it back to port at the USA naval base in Yokosuka.
It is not clear what caused the collision but the coastguard has said the area had been particularly busy with sea traffic at the time.
“Thoughts and prayers with the sailors of USS Fitzgerald and their families”.
The container ship ACX Crystal weighs 29,060 tons (26,363 tonnes) and is 222 metres long, much larger than the 8,315-ton (7,543-tonne) Navy destroyer.
The other two were being treated for lacerations and bruises and others injured were being assessed aboard the ship.
All of the ACX Crystal’s 20-member Filipino crew were safe, said Japanese shipping company Nippon Yusen KK, which operates the Philippine-flagged ship. The container ship’s left bow was dented and scraped.
“Just heard the sweetest voice and saw a wonderful face”.
“It could have been worse, so we’re grateful”, she said by phone.