A number of the seven U.S. Navy sailors missing after a collision between a destroyer and a container ship have been found dead, the Seventh Fleet said Sunday.
The sailors were found in the berthing compartments of the ship that flooded after the collision, which occurred in the early hours of Saturday morning.The container ship appeared to have hit the Aegis class destroyer almost square on, severely damaging the berthing compartments where the sailors were sleeping.
The US Navy said rescue workers found the bodies on Sunday after gaining access to damaged parts of the ship.
The sailors’ bodies have been taken to the naval hospital on the Yokosuka base to be identified. Their names will not be released until their families have been notified, the Seventh Fleet said in a statement.
The incident took place some 56 nautical miles (104km) south-west of the Japanese port city of Yokosuka, at about 02:30 local time on Saturday (17:30 GMT Friday).
The Navy ship's starboard side was heavily damaged in the collision, but the vessel later managed to slowly return to its base in Yokosuka, with the assistance of US navy tug boats.
Marine traffic records suggest the ACX Crystal, a 222-metre (730ft) Filipino-flagged container ship, made a sudden U-turn roughly 25 minutes before the crash. It is not known why it changed course.