After a US Navy destroyer collided with a cargo ship near Japan, all seven missing sailors have been found dead in the flooded berthing compartments and are being brought home to their families.
The $1.5billion USS Fitzgerald originally had a 116 person crew before a massive cargo ship crashed into it, tearing a hole in the hull. The USS Fitzgerald has been returned to its base in Yokosuka.
The captain’s quarters were destroyed in the crash. All crew members were asleep when the crash happened, catching everyone off guard. One commander said to the media that they were all lucky to be alive.
The Daily Mail reports:
All seven missing sailors have been found dead in the flooded berthing compartments of the US Navy destroyer that collided with a cargo ship early Saturday morning 56 miles from Japan.
According to the US 7th Fleet, the bodies were found Sunday morning by divers after the $1.5billion USS Fitzgerald returned to its base in Yokosuka.
The Navy confirmed that all seven missing sailors had been found, and revealed that 116 crew had been sleeping in the compartments that flooded when a 29,000 ton cargo ship crashed into the destroyer gouging a large hole in its hull below the water line.
The ship’s captain, Commander Bryce Benson, was asleep when the accident happened and his cabin was destroyed by the impact at 2.30am on Saturday.
Vice Adm Joseph Aucoin said Benson is ‘lucky to be alive’. Investigators in Japan are treating the crash as a result of ‘negligence’
‘The families are being notified and being provided the support they need during this difficult time,’ said Yoko Kato, a spokeswoman for the US Navy in Yokosuka. ‘The names of the Sailors will be released after all notifications are made,’ officials wrote in the statement that was released at 10.33am on Sunday.
Aucoin told reporters during a press conference on Sunday that they ‘discontinued the search and rescue’ of sailors.
On Saturday night, a young sailor was identified by CBS 19 as one of the seven missing crewmen.
Dakota Rigsby, who is from Fluvanna County, Virginia, was identified Saturday as still missing. It is not known if Rigsby was among those found by divers.
According to his Facebook, he is a Gunner’s Mate in the Navy. Rigsby volunteers for the Lake Monticello Volunteer Fire Department and is a graduate of Fluvanna County High School.
Rigsby’s parents asked the community for their thoughts and prayers.
‘Our #USNavy family is mourning a loss. Please keep families of fallen in your thoughts and prayers, as they are in mine,’ Master Chief Petty Officer of the Navy, Steven S. Giordano, tweeted.
The USS Fitzgerald’s captain, Benson, was airlifted early Saturday to the US Naval Hospital in Yokosuka and was in stable condition with a head injury, the Navy said.
The Wisconsin native, who took command of the AEGIS-equipped vessel in May of 2016, was med-evacuated along with two other crew members from the ship after the collision and is in a stable condition.