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19 June 2017, 12:51 | Opal Carroll
USS Fitzgerald Missing Sailors Found Dead In Ship's Flooded Compartments
In a video statement earlier as the search was ongoing, USA 7th Fleet commander Vice Admiral Joseph P. Aucoin said, "It's been a tough day for our Navy family". However, Aucoin declined to say how numerous sailors were found.
The 154-metre (500-foot) Fitzgerald was pulled by a tugboat back to its base in Yokosuka, southwest of Tokyo, on Saturday, where divers searched damaged areas of the guided missile destroyer. Most of the more than 200 sailors aboard would have been asleep in their berths at the time of the pre-dawn crash.
Those who did not survive might have killed by the impact of the crash or drowned by the flooding, Navy spokesman Lieutenant Paul Newell said.
"The families are being notified and being provided the support they need during this hard time", the Seventh Fleet told Reuters.
Several news reports citing unnamed sources have indicated that all seven sailors' bodies were found; however, the Navy had not officially confirmed that as of 11:55 a.m.
The U.S.S. Fitzgerald has been towed into it's home port in Japan. Later it became known about the hospitalization of three team members, including the captain of the ship.
The US Seventh Fleet said on Twitter that the ship would return to Yokosuka.
While a USA official tells ABC News that seven bodies were found, Aucoin declined to confirm the number of fatalities, except to say that there were "a number" of missing personnel. "You will see the USS Fitzgerald back". Bryce Benson, was airlifted from the ship's deck after daybreak Saturday to the U.S. Naval Hospital in Yokosuka with a head injury.
The other two are being treated for cuts and bruises they suffered. It was unclear how many others might have been hurt. US aircraft as well as Japanese helicopters were dispatched to help assist the search effort.
Nippon Yusen K.K., the Japanese shipping company that operates the Philippine-flagged container ship, said all of its 20-member Filipino crew was safe.
Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe sent a sympathy message to U.S. President Donald Trump, saying, "We are struck by deep sorrow. He's okay. Thank you all for the prayers", Rita Schrimsher of Athens, Alabama, tweeted after speaking with her 23-year-old grandson, Jackson Schrimsher, via Facetime.
Photos showed the container ship with minor damage to its bow, while the Fitzgerald appeared to have extensive damage midship on its right, or starboard, side, just below its bridge.
Some families of crew members have taken to social media for word of their loved ones.
The US Navy said the collision happened at about 2.30am local time, while the Japanese Coast Guard said it was 1.30am local time. A US defense official said there is flooding in three compartments of the Fitzgerald, and there were injuries. Sykes says her son told her that the men sleeping on bunks above and below him were among those who died, while three died in the berth above his.
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