Our worst fears about the seven missing United States sailors have been confirmed

Lance Nichols
June 19, 2017

Vice Adm. Joseph Aucoin declined to say how numerous seven missing sailors had been recovered from the Fitzgerald because the families of those who died were still being informed Sunday.

The Philippine Embassy in Tokyo has been advised by Japanese maritime authorities that there are no Filipino casualties so far from the collision between ACX Crystal and USS Fitzgerald (DDG 62) Saturday, the Department of Foreign Affairs reported yesterday.

The Navy's 7th Fleet said searchers found the bodies Sunday morning Japan time after the ship returned to its base in Japan. Cmdr. Bryce Benson was the first to be evacuated from the damaged vessel and is being treated at the USA naval hospital at Yokosuka.

"Out of concern for the families and the notification process, I will decline to state how many we have found at this time", Vice Adm. Joseph P. Aucoin, commander of the 7th Fleet, said at a news conference. The Navy's 7th Fleet said flooding was stabilized and sailors from the USS Dewey came aboard to assist in damage control. Please consider contributing to Eurasia Review, as we are truly independent and do not receive financial support from any institution, corporation or organization.

The Japanese coast guard said it received an emergency call from the container ship, the ACX Crystal, reporting the collision around 2:20 a.m. local time. "You will see the USS Fitzgerald back".

Commander Benson took command of the Fitzgerald on May 13.

Reports say the sailors were trapped inside the ship, which then took on water.

An investigation was underway to determine what caused the nighttime collision between the destroyer and the container ship.

In a video statement earlier as the search was ongoing, US 7th Fleet commander Vice Admiral Joseph P. Aucoin said, "It's been a tough day for our Navy family".


Two other crew members were injured in the crash, which damaged two berthing spaces, a machinery room and the radio room and exposed a mangled mid-right side of the ship. All three were in stable condition at the US Naval Hospital, said Cmdr.

The sailors were being transferred to Naval Hospital Yokosuka, where they will be identified, the Navy said.

The Arleigh Burke-class guided-missile destroyer USS Fitzgerald, damaged by colliding with a Philippine-flagged merchant vessel, is seen at the us naval base in Yokosuka, Japan, in this photo taken by Kyodo June 18, 2017.

The other two were being treated for lacerations and bruises.

"We are collaborating with the ship owner and fully cooperating with the investigation by the coast guard", Nippon Yusen said in a statement. At around 29,000 tons displacement it is about three times the size of the USA warship. The ship, operated by the Japanese shipping company Nippon Yusen K.K., arrived at Oi pier in Tokyo Bay on Saturday afternoon.

The Fitzgerald suffered damage on her starboard side above and below the waterline, causing "significant damage", the US Navy said on Saturday.

Aucoin also offered "heartfelt thanks to our Japanese allies" for coming to the ship's aid.

Cormier, on Marquette University's campus, said thoughts and prayers are going out to the victims involved.

Other reports by TheDigitalNewspaper

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