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20 June 2017, 10:13 | Terri Saunders
Top Asian News 4:48 am GMT
The 10,000-ton USS Fitzgerald and the ACX Crystal, a 29,000-ton container ship flagged in the Philippines, collided early Saturday local time off Japan's Izu Peninsula, officials said.
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"We are all deeply saddened by the tragic loss of our fellow shipmates", acting Navy Secretary Sean Stackley has said in a statement. "We are struck by deep sorrow", Abe said in the message. Sailors Dakota Kyle Rigsby, 19, of Palmyra, Virginia; Shingo Alexander Douglass, 25, of San Diego; Ngoc T. Truong Huynh, 25, of Oakville, Connecticut; Noe Hernandez, 26, of Weslaco, Texas; Carlos Victor Ganzon Sibayan, 23, of Chula Vista, California; Xavier Alec Martin, 24, of Halethorpe, Maryland; and Gary Leo Rehm Jr., 37, of Elyria, Ohio, were in their bunks asleep when the incident occurred, the U.S. 7th Fleet reported Monday.
Bodies of seven US sailors recovered after the USA destroyer collided with with Philippine-flagged vessel CX Crystal near south of Tokyo Bay in Japan.
At Sunday's news conference, Aucoin said, "The U.S. Coast Guard is to take the lead on the marine casualty investigation".
"Japanese Coast Guard ships and helicopters were the first on scene and our first medevac, the ship's commanding officer, Cmdr". He wouldn't say how many bodies were recovered, pending notification of next of kin.
"You will see the USS Fitzgerald back as one of our warships", Aucoin said.
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In the days following the collision, stories have come to light about heroic efforts made to rescue the victims, who were sleeping in compartments that flooded.
Numerous crew on the USA ship were asleep when the collision tore a gash under the waterline on the warship's starboard side, flooding two crew compartments, the radio room and the auxiliary machine room. "It was traumatic", Aucoin said at a news conference at the Yokosuka base on Sunday.
"There was a big puncture, a big gash underneath the waterline" along the bottom of the ship, Aucoin said.
USA and Japanese aircraft and surface ships launched a search looking for the unaccounted-for sailors after the collision. "And as you can see now, the ship is still listing, so they had to fight the ship to keep it above the surface".
"We are scheduled to interview the crew members", said U.S. Lieutenant Scott Carr told Reuters, referring the crew of the merchant ship. I also want to express my most heartfelt appreciation to our Japanese allies for their swift support and assistance at this time of our need.
This marks the greatest loss of life on a USA naval vessel since the USS Cole was bombed in Yemen's Aden harbor in 2000, killing 17 sailors and injuring 39.
Authorities are continuing to investigate the crash, and they are preparing to return the sailors' remains home.
The Associated Press quoted a coast guard official as saying that investigators were finding out why it took the crew Philippine-flagged ACX Crystal 50 minutes before they reported the incident to the authorities.
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