Saturday 19 August 2017

Seven US sailors missing after US Navy destroyer collides with merchant ship

The Arleigh Burke-class guided-missile destroyer USS Fitzgerald, damaged by colliding with a Philippine-flagged merchant vessel, is seen off Shimoda, Japan in this photo taken by Kyodo June 17, 2017.
The Arleigh Burke-class guided-missile destroyer USS Fitzgerald, damaged by colliding with a Philippine-flagged merchant vessel, is seen off Shimoda, Japan in this photo taken by Kyodo June 17, 2017.
The Arleigh Burke-class guided-missile destroyer USS Fitzgerald. damaged by colliding with a Philippine-flagged merchant vessel. is seen off Shimoda, Japan in this photo taken by Kyodo June 17, 2017.
The damage of the right side of the USS Fitzgerald is seen off Shimoda, Shizuoka prefecture, Japan, after the Navy destroyer collided with a merchant ship, Saturday, June 16, 2017. The U.S. Navy says the USS Fitzgerald suffered damage below the water line on its starboard side after it collided with a Philippine-flagged merchant ship.
The damage of Philippine-registered container ship ACX Crystal is seen off Izu Oshima, Japan, after it had collided with the USS Fitzgerald southwest of Yokusuka, Japan, Saturday, June 16, 2017. The U.S. Navy says the USS Fitzgerald suffered damage below the water line on its starboard side after it collided with the Philippine-flagged merchant ship.
The USS Fitzgerald is seen off Shimoda, Shizuoka prefecture, Japan, after the Navy destroyer collided with a merchant ship, Saturday, June 16, 2017. The U.S. Navy says the USS Fitzgerald suffered damage below the water line on its starboard side after it collided with a Philippine-flagged merchant ship.
A Philippine-flagged merchant vessel, damaged by colliding with the Arleigh Burke-class guided-missile destroyer USS Fitzgerald, is seen off Izu Oshima island, Japan in this photo taken by Kyodo June 17, 2017.
The damage of the right side of the USS Fitzgerald is seen off Shimoda, Shizuoka prefecture, Japan, after the Navy destroyer collided with a merchant ship, Saturday, June 16, 2017. The U.S. Navy says the USS Fitzgerald suffered damage below the water line on its starboard side after it collided with a Philippine-flagged merchant ship. (Iori Sagisawa/Kyodo News via AP)
The USS Fitzgerald is seen off Shimoda, Shizuoka prefecture, Japan, after the Navy destroyer collided with a merchant ship, Saturday, June 16, 2017. Seven crew members are missing and one injured after the U.S. Navy destroyer collided early Saturday morning with a merchant ship off the coast of Japan, the country's coast guard reported. (Iori Sagisawa/Kyodo News via AP)
The Philippine-registered container ship ACX Crystal is seen off Izu Oshima, Japan, after it collided with the USS Fitzgerald southwest of Yokusuka, Japan, Saturday, June 16, 2017.
The Arleigh Burke-class guided-missile destroyer USS Fitzgerald, damaged by colliding with a Philippine-flagged merchant vessel, is seen next to a tugboat (R) off Shimoda, Japan in this photo taken by Kyodo June 17, 2017.

Two injured crew members, including the captain, have been airlifted from a US Navy destroyer that collided with a merchant ship off the coast of Japan, as a search is under way for seven missing sailors.

The navy said Commander Bryce Benson was taken to the US Naval Hospital in Yokosuka, the home base of the 7th Fleet. It says he was in a stable condition.

Navy chief Admiral John Richardson said US Navy, Japanese maritime defence vessels and the Japanese coastguard were working to stabilise the badly-damaged ship.

Japan's coastguard believe the missing sailors were thrown into the sea or possibly trapped inside damaged sections of the destroyer.

The damage of the right side of the USS Fitzgerald is seen off Shimoda, Shizuoka prefecture, Japan, after the Navy destroyer collided with a merchant ship, Saturday, June 16, 2017. The U.S. Navy says the USS Fitzgerald suffered damage below the water line on its starboard side after it collided with a Philippine-flagged merchant ship.
The damage of the right side of the USS Fitzgerald is seen off Shimoda, Shizuoka prefecture, Japan, after the Navy destroyer collided with a merchant ship, Saturday, June 16, 2017. The U.S. Navy says the USS Fitzgerald suffered damage below the water line on its starboard side after it collided with a Philippine-flagged merchant ship.

TV footage showed heavy damage to the mid-right side of the USS Fitzgerald and a someone on a stretcher being lifted to a helicopter.

The navy said the Fitzgerald was damaged below the water line on its starboard side.

The Japan Coast Guard said it received an emergency call from Philippine-registered container ship ACX Crystal at around 2.20am local time on Saturday (6.20pm Friday BST) saying it had collided with the Fitzgerald south west of Yokusuka.

The Fitzgerald collided with the 730ft merchant ship 56 nautical miles from Yokosuka, a city south of Tokyo.

The damage of the right side of the USS Fitzgerald is seen off Shimoda, Shizuoka prefecture, Japan, after the Navy destroyer collided with a merchant ship, Saturday, June 16, 2017. The U.S. Navy says the USS Fitzgerald suffered damage below the water line on its starboard side after it collided with a Philippine-flagged merchant ship. (Iori Sagisawa/Kyodo News via AP)
The damage of the right side of the USS Fitzgerald is seen off Shimoda, Shizuoka prefecture, Japan, after the Navy destroyer collided with a merchant ship, Saturday, June 16, 2017. The U.S. Navy says the USS Fitzgerald suffered damage below the water line on its starboard side after it collided with a Philippine-flagged merchant ship. (Iori Sagisawa/Kyodo News via AP)

A US defence official said there was flooding in three compartments of the Fitzgerald.

Relatives of the US crew were anxiously awaiting news of their loved ones.

A relieved Rita Schrimsher of Athens, Alabama, whose family had been "nervous and scared and just praying", later received a call from her grandson, sailor Jackson Schrimsher, 23, to say he was safe.

Ms Schrimsher tweeted: "Just heard the sweetest voice and saw a wonderful face. He's okay. Thank you all for the prayers."

A Philippine-flagged merchant vessel, damaged by colliding with the Arleigh Burke-class guided-missile destroyer USS Fitzgerald, is seen off Izu Oshima island, Japan in this photo taken by Kyodo June 17, 2017.
A Philippine-flagged merchant vessel, damaged by colliding with the Arleigh Burke-class guided-missile destroyer USS Fitzgerald, is seen off Izu Oshima island, Japan in this photo taken by Kyodo June 17, 2017.

After speaking to Jackson on Facetime, she said: "It could have been worse, so we're grateful."

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