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Bodies of missing US Navy sailors found

18 June 2017 world-news

The bodies of a number of missing USS Fitzgerald sailors have been found in the ship’s flooded compartments, the US Navy says.

Seven US Navy sailors were listed as missing after – the ACX Crystal sailing under the flag of the Philippines.

There is some confusion over exactly how many bodies have been recovered: while the US Navy said “a number”, Japanese reports said all seven had been found dead.

Later, Yoko Kato, spokeswoman for the US Navy in Yokosuka, said not all seven were recovered.

The US 7th Fleet said in a statement: “As search and rescue crews gained access to the spaces that were damaged during the collision this morning, the missing sailors were located in the flooded berthing compartments.

“They are currently being transferred to Naval Hospital Yokosuka where they will be identified.

“The families are being notified and being provided the support they need during this difficult time.

Image: The Philippine-flagged merchant vessel involved in the collision. Pic: Kyodo

“The names of the sailors will be released after all notifications are made.”

The crash happened in the early hours of Saturday around 56 miles southwest of Yokosuka, a Japanese city that is home to a US Naval base.

Most of the more than 200 sailors would have been asleep as the ship’s radio room, a machinery room and two berthing spaces were damaged.

The Fitzgerald’s commanding officer Commander Bryce Benson suffered a head injury and was evacuated and taken to US Naval Hospital in Yokosuka where he is in a stable condition.

A sailor is rescued from the USS Fitzgerald after it collided with a container ship near Japan

Image: Three sailors were rescued from the US Navy destroyer

Two more sailors were also also taken by helicopter to hospital for what the 7th Fleet said were “lacerations and bruises”.

The Fitzgerald returned to the port of Yokosuka, which lies south of Tokyo, on Saturday evening and Japan’s coast guard officials said the sea and air search was continuing at the scene of the crash.

It is not clear what caused the collision but the container ship has docked at Tokyo’s Oi wharf, where crew members are being questioned.

There were no injuries reported among crew on the container ship.

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