(ASSOCIATED PRESS) — OKOSUKA, Japan — The search for seven U.S. Navy sailors who went missing after their destroyer collided with a container ship off the Japanese coast was called off after several bodies were found Sunday in the ship’s flooded compartments, including sleeping quarters.
Navy divers found “a number of” bodies in the USS Fitzgerald, a day after the destroyer collided with a Philippine-flagged container ship four times its size, said Vice Adm. Joseph Aucoin, the commander of the Navy’s 7th Fleet. Aucoin, speaking at a news conference at the 7th Fleet’s home base in Yokosuka, Japan, wouldn’t say how many bodies were recovered, pending notification of next of kin.
Aucoin said that much of the crew of about 300 was asleep when the collision happened at 2:20 a.m. Saturday, and that one machinery room and two berthing areas for 116 crew members were severely damaged. He said the destroyer — which returned to Yokosuka on Saturday evening with the help of tug boats — was hit on the side and there was a significant impact.