Several Sailors Found Dead After US Destroyer Collision

The bodies of seven missing sailors - found in the flooded wreckage of the navy destroyer.The commander of the seventh fleet revealing the damage you can see - the ship's mangled midsection - is relatively minor compared to what you can't see. The bodies were found in flooded berthing compartments after divers were able to reach the areas, the Fleet said.

"The search and rescue is over", U.S. 7th Fleet commander Vice Admiral Joseph Aucoin told reporters, describing huge amounts of water that gushed into the sleeping compartments after part of the ship's right side caved in.

"The water flow was tremendous, and so there wasn't a lot of time in those spaces that were open to the sea".

"They had to fight for the ship to keep it above the surface. It was traumatic", Aucoin said at a news conference at the Yokosuka base on Sunday.

On Sunday, the US Navy said a number of missing sailors were found dead in the ship's flooded compartments. Navy spokesman Lieutenant Paul Newell said the victims were either killed by the impact or drowned in consequent flooding.

Check back for more as this story develops.

Most of the 300 crew were asleep in their berths at the time.

The missing crew's bodies were found as tugs towed the stricken ship back to the Yokosuka naval base. "This was not a small collision", he said.

Several other USA crew members were injured in the accident and had to be evacuated by air to hospital, including the vessel's commanding officer Bryce Benson.

The other two were being treated for lacerations and bruises and others injured were being assessed aboard the ship.

The Japanese coastguard also said none of the 20 crew members on board the ACX Crystal, a Philippine-flagged merchant vessel that collided with the Fitzgerald, were wounded.

The damage to the destroyer suggests that the container ship, the ACX Crystal, might have slammed into it at a significant speed. He was transferred to U.S. Naval Hospital Yokosuka and is said to be in a stable condition.

But the destroyer, nicknamed the Fighting Fitz within the Navy, suffered severe damage on its starboard side.

Multiple US and Japanese investigations are underway on how a ship as large as the container could ram into the warship in clear weather. Both Aucoin and the Japanese coast guard, however, said it was too early to determine what led to the collision.

It was questioning crew members of the ACX Crystal, which is operated by the Japanese shipping company Nippon Yusen K.K., and was treating the incident as a case of possible professional negligence, said Masayuki Obara, a regional coast guard official. US aircraft is assisting in the effort, along with several Japanese helicopters and one plane, the 7th Fleet said.The area is particularly busy with sea traffic, said Yutaka Saito of the coast guard.

  • Anthony Vega