2 injured airlifted after US Navy ship collision

Sailor Found Hiding on Navy Ship 7 Days After Disappearing

Seven sailors were reported missing when the collision happened, but not all of those missing were recovered, US Navy spokeswoman Yoko Kato said.

US aircraft and vessels, as well as those from the Maritime Self-Defense Force and Japan Coast Guard, had been looking for the missing personnel since the two ships crashed in the pre-dawn hours Saturday.

Navy divers found "a number of" bodies inside the ship after it returned to the 7th Fleet's home base in Yokosuka, south of Tokyo, with the help of tugboats.

Mr Aucoin paid tribute to the crew's efforts to save their ship, saying they prevented it from sinking.

The Japanese coast guard said it received an emergency call from the container ship, the ACX Crystal, reporting the collision around 2:20 a.m. (17:20 GMT Friday).

Rescue crews had searched into the early hours on Sunday for the seven American sailors missing after the collision.

All three were in stable condition at the US Naval Hospital in Yokosuka, said Commander Ron Flanders, a spokesman for US Naval Forces Japan.

According to NBC News, the sailors' names will not be released until family notification is completed.

The Navy isn't speculating on any cause so far. Two of the damaged compartments house the sleeping quarters for more than 100 crew members - many of whom were likely asleep. "All of our thoughts and prayers are with the Fitzgerald crew and their families", said Adm. John Richardson, Chief of Naval Operations.

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Commander Benson took command of the Fitzgerald on May 13.

He said Sunday that he would appoint a flag officer to lead an investigation into the collision, though it was not clear how long the probe is expected to last.

"This has been a hard day", Aucoin said, adding that the search for missing shipmates would continue now that the vessel was back in Yokosuka.

The container ship, the 222-metre Philippine-flagged ACX Crystal, came into port with large scrapes on its bow, but none of its 20 crew were injured.

But the destroyer, nicknamed the Fighting Fitz within the Navy, suffered severe damage on its starboard side.

The navy said it had found "a number" of bodies inside the guided missile destroyer, but did not specify if all seven crew had been found dead in the search that took place after it limped back into harbour.

Rear Admiral Charles Williams noted: "I want to highlight the extraordinary courage of the Fitzgerald Sailors who contained the flooding, stabilized the ship and sailed her back to Yokosuka despite the exceptionally trying circumstances".

It's still unclear exactly what happened, but Japanese media reported that the ACX Crystal made a "sharp turn" shortly before the pre-dawn crash, per The Guardian.

The container ship, at almost 30 tons, was nearly four times the size of the eight-to-nine-ton Fitzgerald and only sustained minimal damage to its nose from the collision.

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