The Arleigh Burke-class guided-missile destroyer USS Fitzgerald, damaged by colliding with a Philippine-flagged merchant vessel, is towed by a tugboat upon its arrival at the U.S. naval base in Yokosuka, south of Tokyo, Japan June 17, 2017. REUTERS/Toru Hanai
Sailors who went missing on the USS Fitzgerald after it collided with a Filipino merchant vessel were found dead, it was reported.
The Navy’s 7th Fleet, in a statement, said search teams found the bodies on Sunday morning after the missile destroyer returned to its Japan base.
The Navy statement read, “A number of Sailors that were missing from the collision between USS Fitzgerald (DDG 62) and a merchant ship have been found. As search and rescue crews gained access to the spaces that were damaged during the collision this morning, the missing Sailors were located in the flooded berthing compartments.”
It added: “They are currently being transferred to Naval Hospital Yokosuka where they will be identified. The families are being notified and being provided the support they need during this difficult time. The names of the Sailors will be released after all notifications are made.”
The Navy hasn’t clarified how many bodies were discovered. Seven soldiers were declared missing. A number of media outlets have indicated that the seven soldiers were found dead.
“We have found the remains of a number of our missing” sailors, Vice Adm. Joseph Aucoin said, per the Japan Times.
The Fitzgerald is much smaller than the merchant vessel—flagged by Japan—that it had collided with.
“Right now we are focused on two things: the safety of the ship and the well-being of the Sailors,” Adm. Scott Swift, the head of of the U.S. Pacific Fleet, said in a statement, reported NPR. “We thank our Japanese partners for their assistance.”