Bodies Of 7 Missing Sailors Found Inside Wrecked Navy Ship

US destroyer almost foundered after collision, bodies found - Seventh Fleet

US destroyer almost foundered after collision, bodies found - Seventh Fleet

The U.S. Navy has said the bodies of sailors who went missing in the collision between the USS Fitzgerald and a container ship have been found aboard the stricken destroyer.

Aucoin described the damage and flooding as extensive, including a big puncture under the ship's waterline, and said the crew had to fight to keep the destroyer afloat.

A machinery room and the radio room in the 10,000-ton destroyer were damaged. All three were reported to be in stable condition.

Shortly after the collision the US made a request for support from the Japanese Coast Guard, which was the first on scene, according to a release.

The bodies of seven missing sailors have been found aboard the USS Fitzgerald in a damaged compartment on the destroyer, according to the Navy. Others injured were being assessed aboard the ship.

Vice Adm. Joseph Aucoin, commander USA 7th Fleet speaks to members of the press about the guided-missile destroyer USS Fitzgerald (DDG 62) which was involved in a collision with a merchant vessel.

The collision tore a gash under the warship's waterline, and should have foundered or even sunk but for the crew's desperate efforts to save the ship, he said. At the time of the collision, a substantial portion of the crew was sleeping. One of two shafts were locked.

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The Navy identified Sunday the seven sailors killed when the USS Fitzgerald collided with a Philippines-flagged merchant ship on Saturday.

The sailors, aged between 19 and 37, were reported missing after Saturday's predawn collision which triggered a major US-Japanese search operation.

The Navy's 7th Fleet said searchers found the bodies Sunday morning Japan time after the ship returned to its base in Japan.

He said he was ordering an investigation by the Navy's judge advocate general, which would be led by a flag officer.

Jennifer Adkison of Granbury, Texas, whose 20-year-old son, Bruce Adkison, a fifth-generation sailor, survived the collision, said in a Facebook message that families are grieving for those who died and trying to get clothing and other items to survivors who lost all their possessions.

She did not say how many were found.

YOKOSUKA, Japan (NNS) - The following are USA 7th Fleet Commander Vice Adm. Joseph Aucoin's prepared remarks for a press conference held June 18 at Commander Fleet Activities Yokosuka, Japan, about the collision of USS Fitzgerald (DDG 62) with a merchant vessel June 17. Please keep them in your thoughts are prayers.

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He said the names of the deceased will be released pending notification of next of kin.

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

The cause of the collision remains unclear.

There will also be a safety investigation, he added.

In a statement, acting Navy Secretary Sean Stackley said, "We are all deeply saddened by the tragic loss of our fellow shipmates".

Japan's coastguard is conducting an investigation into the accident - including interviewing the Japanese-owned container ship's Filipino crew - although the USA has primary jurisdiction in probing accidents involving military personnel. "Once an investigation is complete then any legal issues can be addressed", a spokesman for the U.S. 7th Fleet said.

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