7 U.S. Sailors Missing After Destroyer Collides with Merchant Ship off Japan

Search and Rescue Underway for Missing Sailors

Seven U.S. sailors are missing after The USS Fitzgerald, a 505-foot Navy destroyer, collided with a merchant ship southwest of Yokosuka, Japan early Saturday morning.  

The ship was tugged back to Yokosuka Naval Base after experiencing flooding.

Meanwhile search and rescue efforts by U.S. and Japanese aircraft and boats were underway in the area where the vessels collided.

Several crew members were injured, including the officer in command of the Destroyer. The officer, Cmdr. Bryce Benson, was evacuated from the ship by helicopter to a nearby United States naval base and was in stable condition, the United States Seventh Fleet said in a statement.

The Navy said two other sailors had been evacuated by helicopter and were being treated for lacerations and bruises.

"Right now we are focused on two things: the safety of the ship and the well-being of the Sailors," Adm. Scott Swift, commander of the U.S. Pacific Fleet, said in a statement. "We thank our Japanese partners for their assistance."

The White House said President Donald Trump was briefed on the situation.

The Fleet said earlier that some flooding was reported on the Fitzgerald, but it remained under its own power although propulsion was limited. The Fleet said shortly after 2 p.m. Saturday Tokyo time that flooding had been stabilized.

Adm. John Richardson, chief of naval operations, said in a statement: "As more information is learned, we will be sure to share to it with the Fitzgerald families and when appropriate the public. Thank you for your well wishes and messages of concern. All of our thoughts and prayers are with the Fitzgerald crew and their families."


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