Navy Searching North Arabian Sea for Missing USS Nimitz Sailor

September 7, 2020 Updated: September 7, 2020

Navy officials announced late Sunday that a search and rescue operation is currently underway for a sailor who went missing from the USS Nimitz aircraft carrier.

The U.S. Naval Forces Central Command said in a statement that the USS Nimitz and guided-missile cruiser USS Princeton are currently searching the North Arabian Sea after the sailor was reported missing Sunday.

Man overboard was called after the sailor was not located upon a search on board the aircraft carrier, Cmdr. Rebecca Rebarich, a 5th Fleet spokesperson told ABC News. The search and rescue mission was then activated.

The unnamed missing sailor has been listed as Duty Status Whereabouts Unknown (DUSTWUN) onboard the Nimitz, and the rescue mission continued after sundown.

Officials said the sailor’s name is being withheld in accordance with U.S. Navy policy. Details of the sailor’s rank were not released.

The Navy said that updates will be provided as they become available.

The aircraft carrier was deployed from San Diego in early June and has been operating outside the Persian Gulf since late July.

It follows a separate incident last summer, when Petty Officer 2nd Class Slayton Saldana went missing in the Arabian Sea after reportedly going overboard from the carrier USS Abraham Lincoln. Following an extensive search, Saldana was declared dead on July 30 last year.

According to USNI, the USS Nimitz was the first carrier to implement measures to curb the transmission of the CCP (Chinese Communist Party) virus. Its crew entered an isolation period in April at its base in Bremerton, Washington.

More than 1,200 crew aboard the aircraft carrier USS Theodore Roosevelt were infected by the CCP virus earlier this year, and one person died. Captain Brett Crozier was fired from his command of the carrier, and the Navy said in June that they would not reinstate his position.

Admiral Mike Gilday, chief of naval operations and the Navy’s top officer, said Crozier did not do enough to prevent an outbreak of the virus aboard the carrier. After six months at sea, the vessel returned to its base in San Diego in July.