The Interrogations of crew that crashed the USS "Fitzgerald" has begun

Lori Sagisawa  Kyodo News via AP

Lori Sagisawa Kyodo News via AP

The navy destroyer was badly damaged in the collision with a Philippine-flagged cargo ship off the Japanese coast early Saturday.

The Navy's 7th Fleet said searchers found the bodies Sunday morning, Japan time after the guided-missile destroyer returned to its base in Japan.

Two local men were among the seven Navy sailors killed Friday when the USS Fitzgerald crashed with the Philippine merchant ship ACX Crystal off the coast of Japan, the Navy announced Sunday.

The other five were identified as Dakota Rigsby, 19, of Palmyra, Virginia; Ngoc Truong Huynh, 25, of Oakville, Connecticut; Noe Hernandez, 26, of Weslaco, Texas; Alec Martin, 24, of Halethorpe, Maryland; and Gary Rehm Jr., 37, of Elyria, Ohio.

Kyodo News via AP

The US Navy's top commander visited Japan on Tuesday to meet with the grieving families of the seven sailors killed in the accident. Bryce Benson suffered a head injury in the collision and was airlifted to the U.S. Naval Hospital in Yokosuka.

As for the extent of the damage, experts said the destroyer is not necessarily as tough as it appears to the untrained eye.

Acting Secretary of the Navy Sean Stackley issued a statement on the incident, calling for support of the affected families.

"There is nearly no mistake the container was behind the destroyer, though it is still premature to decide which ship bumped into the other", said Tetsuo Kotani, a maritime security expert at the Japan Institute of International Affairs.

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Security expert Steffan Watkins, an independent open-source intelligence analyst and contributor to Jane's Intelligence Review, believes the Crystal may have been sailing on auto-pilot and that none of the crew were on the bridge at the time of the collision.

The "ACX Crystal" reported the collision at 2:25 a.m. (1725 GMT) prompting Japanese authorities to initially log the incident at 2:20 a.m. on June 17.

"As you can see now the ship is still listing and so they had to fight the ship to keep it above the surface".

Several U.S. Navy aircraft, as well as Japanese Coast Guard and Japan Maritime Self-Defense Force helicopters, ships and aircraft were deployed to render assistance to the Fitzgerald, a release said. She said the ship reported to the coast guard at 2:25 a.m., but she could not provide details about what the ship was doing for almost an hour. "The U.S. Coast Guard is to take the lead on the marine casualty investigation", Aucoin said.

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The US Coast Guard on June 20 started interviewing the crew of the "ACX Crystal", the ship that crashed against the USS "Fitzgerald", the crew will also be interviewed on behalf of the U.S. National Transportation Safety Board.

"The USS Fitzgerald was damaged on its starboard side above and below the waterline", said the Pacific Fleet.

The navy and coastguard are conducting separate investigations, but the Japanese side will ask for United States cooperation in its inquiries, a spokesman for Japan's transport safety board told Agence France-Presse.

He also praised their colleagues for saving the USS Fitzgerald from further damage and bringing it back to port.

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Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe sent a sympathy message Sunday to President Trump.

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