Friday, 28 July, 2017

Raleigh Mom Says Son Tried To Save Navy Shipmates After Collision

Kazuhiro Nogi  AFP  Getty Images USS Fitzgerakd Kazuhiro Nogi AFP Getty Images USS Fitzgerakd
Freda Brock | 19 June, 2017, 06:58

"I express my heartfelt solidarity to America at this hard time".

Yesterday, US authorities tacitly acknowledged there were no survivors as they ended the search, but declined to say how many bodies had been found until the families were notified. Additionally, Navy officials confirmed early Sunday during a press conference that all search and rescue operations had been completed.

USS Fitzgerald, a guided missile destroyer with a crew of about 200, hit the Philippine-flagged and Japanese-owned merchant ship ACX Crystal 64 miles southwest of Yokosuka early on Saturday. While the Fitzgerald suffered considerable damage to its starboard side, the ACX Crystal sustained only light damage.

The Navy said the collision inflicted significant damage to the destroyer above and below the water line, flooding berths, a machinery area and the radio room. Once the ship arrived in Yokosuka, divers began inspecting the damage and developing a plan for repairs and inspection of the spaces. He also said three compartments were severely damaged.

Aucoin wouldn't speculate on the cause of the collision and would order a thorough investigation.

The damage to the ship is extensive, the Navy Times reported.

The impact struck berthing compartments that contained space for 116 sailors, and the commanding officer's cabin was destroyed. The 7th Fleet has since confirmed the sailors are in stable condition and are being treated for lacerations and bruises at the Naval Hospital Yokosuka. "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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The navy said it had found "a number" of bodies inside the guided missile destroyer, but did not specify if all seven crew had been found dead in the search that took place after it limped back into harbour. Bryce Benson, were injured in the collision and were transported by helicopter to a naval hospital in Yokosuka.

He said in a statement that "we are all deeply saddened by the tragic loss of our fellow shipmates".

The collision happened at 2:30 a.m. local time and involved the USS Fitzgerald, an Arleigh Burke-class destroyer, and a "merchant vessel", according to the US Navy. The Fitzgerald navigated back to port on Saturday evening, registering approximately 5 degrees, as stated by a Navy spokesman in Yokosuka.

The fully loaded Crystal is almost four times the size of the Fitzgerald, and photos from the scene showed scrapes to the port side of its bow.

It was deployed at the Yokosuka base, from where it was supporting peace and security missions in the Asia-Pacific. Footage from Japanese broadcaster NHK showed a sharp horizontal cut across the bow area, which looked like a shark's mouth.

None of the 20 crew members aboard the container ship, all Filipino, were injured, and the ship was not leaking oil, Nippon Yusen said.

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