Bodies of USS Fitzgerald sailors found in ship's flooded compartments - US Navy

Bodies of USS Fitzgerald sailors found in ship's flooded compartments - US Navy”

The Japanese coast guard said it received an emergency call from the container ship, the ACX Crystal, reporting the collision at around 6.20pm BST on Friday.

Water is being pumped out of flooded areas and it is unclear how long it would take to get into the crushed mid-right side of the ship once it is at the pier in Yokosuka.

The 7th Fleet commander, Vice Admiral Joseph Aucoin, thanked the Japanese coast guard in a post on the fleet's Facebook page, adding: "We are committed to ensuring the safe return of the ship to port in Yokosuka".

The Philippine embassy in Tokyo "is closely monitoring the situation in coordination with Japanese and U.S. authorities", presidential spokesman Ernesto Abella said in an interview with state-run Radyo Pilipinas.

The USS Fitzgerald was active in Japanese waters to monitor the Korean peninsula in the wake of a series of ballistic missile launches by North Korea, said The Guardian.

The Fitzgerald suffered extensive damage above and beneath the waterline on its starboard side.

According to one expert, there's a good chance the collision was caused by the errors of human crew, despite the presence of onboard systems meant to prevent deadly collisions at sea.

A statement from the United States navy fleet said that the crash caused 'significant damage and associated flooding to two berthing spaces, a machinery space, and the radio room'.

"The US navy ship is an Aegis destroyer, which has one of the most sophisticated radars in existence".

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The ACX Crystal, which was carrying a crew of 20, was "slightly damaged" in the crash, the department said.

Commander of U.S. Naval Forces Japan, Rear Adm. Greg Fenton, echoed the same message, saying, "Navy Region Japan and the shore enterprise are 100% committed to providing support to these families during this hard time".

The Fitzgerald is 154 meters long and the ACX Crystal is 222.6 meters long.

The coast guard is investigating the accident with the U.S. Navy and questioned the crew members of the 29,060-ton ACX Crystal, operated by Japanese shipping firm Nippon Yusen K.K., with an eye on possible endangerment of traffic caused by professional negligence.

Rita Schrimsher of Athens, Alabama, tweeted: "Just heard the sweetest voice and saw a wonderful face". As more information is learned, we will be sure to share to it with the Fitzgerald families and when appropriate the public.

The severely damaged Fitzgerald limped into Yokosuka harbor, and the Pentagon confirms that search efforts are underway for the Fitzgerald's seven missing crew members. She says: "It could have been worse so we're grateful".

The Fitzgerald was still under its own power "although her propulsion was limited", the US Navy said. Aerial television footage showed one person lying on a stretcher and a rescuer being pulled up to a helicopter that was hovering above the Fitzgerald, part of its right side caved in.

A U.S. P-8 Poseidon aircraft is working in concert with two Japanese military helicopters and a Japanese P-3 Orion aircraft to search the area, according to a release. It is back in port.

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