UPDATE: Search and Rescue Efforts to Find Missing USS Fitzgerald Crew Discontinued After Navy Finds ‘A Number of Sailors Remains’ in Flooded Spaces
Update: Stricken Destroyer USS Fitzgerald Pulls Into Yokosuka Japan, USNI Video
TOKYO (AP) — Seven crew members are reportedly missing and one injured after a U.S. Navy destroyer collided early Saturday morning with a merchant ship off the coast of Japan, the country’s coast guard reported.
Footage from the Japanese TV network NHK showed heavy damage to the mid-right side of the Navy ship and a person in a stretcher being lifted to a helicopter.
The U.S. 7th Fleet said on its Facebook page that it is working with the Japanese Coast Guard to conduct a medical evacuation for a sailor. The fleet said the number of injuries is still being determined.
The Japanese Coast Guard said it received an emergency call from a Philippine-registered container ship ACX Crystal at around 2:20 a.m. (1720 GMT Friday) that it had collided with the USS Fitzgerald southwest of Yokusuka, Japan.
Coast Guard spokesman Yuichi Sugino said coast guard patrol ships and aircraft were headed to the scene but said that no further details were immediately available.
The Philippine ship is 29,060 tons and is 222.6 meters (730 feet) long, the coast guard said.
The Navy said that the USS Fitzgerald collided with a merchant ship 56 nautical miles southwest of Yokosuka, a city south of Tokyo that is home to a major U.S. Naval base. A U.S. defense official said there is flooding in three compartments of the Fitzgerald.
The 7th Fleet says the ship experienced flooding in some areas and it is heading back to Yokosuka. The fleet said the Fitzgerald has limited propulsion, and the ship suffered damage on the starboard side below the water line.
The fleet said the USS Dewey, medical assistance and two Navy tugs were being dispatched as quickly as possible and that Naval aircraft were being readied to help.
The Pacific Fleet said the extent of injuries and damage to the Fitzgerald are being determined, and the incident is under investigation.
USS Fitzgerald (DDG-62), named for U.S. Navy officer William Charles Fitzgerald, is an Arleigh Burke-class destroyer in the United States Navy. She was laid down by Bath Iron Works in Bath, Maine 9 February 1993; launched 29 January 1994; and commissioned 14 October 1995 in Newport, Rhode Island. She was then homeported in Naval Station San Diego, California. Now based at Yokosuka, she is part of Destroyer Squadron 15.
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