7 Navy team missing, skipper hurt after accident off Japan

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Iori Sagisawa/ Kyodo News via

AP The damage of the best side of the USS Fitzgerald is seen off Shimoda, Shizuoka prefecture, Japan, after the Navy destroyer hit a merchant ship, Saturday, June 17, 2017. The U.S. Navy says the USS Fitzgerald suffered damage listed below the water line on its starboard side after it hit a Philippine-flagged merchant ship.

Friday, June 16, 2017|9 p.m.

TOKYO– 7 Navy sailors were missing out on and a minimum of 2, including the captain, were injured after a U.S. destroyer collided with a merchant ship off the coast of Japan before dawn Saturday, the United States Navy and Japanese coast guard reported.

Video from the Japanese TELEVISION network NHK showed heavy damage to the mid-right side of the USS Fitzgerald and an individual in a stretcher being lifted to a helicopter.

The very first, Cmdr. Bryce Benson, was required to the United States Naval Healthcare facility in Yokosuka and was in stable condition, the U.S. 7th Fleet said in a declaration. It stated another injured person was being evacuated however provided no additional details on the crew’s injuries. Others hurt in the crash were being evaluated, it stated.

The Fitzgerald had actually limited propulsion after suffering damage on the starboard side below the water line and a U.S. defense authorities said there was flooding in three compartments. It wasn’t clear yet what caused the nighttime collision between the destroyer and the container ship four times its size. The majority of the more than 200 sailors would have been asleep in their berthings, some of which were apparently flooded.

The Navy, Japanese maritime defense vessels and the coast guard were working to stabilize the destroyer as it went to coast, said Navy chief Adm. John Richardson.

The Navy said that the accident happened 56 nautical miles (103 kilometers) southwest of Yokosuka, which is the home of the 7th Fleet. Video showed the damaged ship moving slowly in calm seas, flanked by a tugboat.

“Right now we are concentrated on 2 things: the safety of the ship and the wellness of the sailors,” said Adm. Scott Swift, leader of the U.S. Pacific Fleet.

The Japan coast guard stated it received an emergency call from a Philippine-registered container ship ACX Crystal around 2:20 a.m. (1720 GMT Friday) that it had hit the Fitzgerald southwest of Yokusuka, Japan.

Relatives of team members were waiting for news of their enjoyed ones.

“Naturally we’re nervous and terrified and just praying,” Rita Schrimsher stated by telephone from Athens, Alabama.

Her grandson Jackson Schrimsher is a 23-year-old sailor aboard the Fitzgerald. She stated she last communicated with him via Facebook messenger on Wednesday.

Takeshi Aikawa of the Japan coast guard stated that so far no damage or injuries were reported on the container ship, he said. NHK reported that the merchant ship had scratches on the left side of its bow.

The Philippine ship is 29,060 heaps and is 222 meters (730 feet) long, the coast guard stated.

The fleet said the USS Dewey, medical support, Navy tugs and marine airplane were dispatched. The Japan coast guard dispatched five patrol ships and an airplane bring medics to the site for search and rescue operations.

The Navy’s Pacific Fleet stated the extent of damage to the Fitzgerald was being determined and the incident was under examination.

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