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#LateUpdate#Video:Seven US Navy sailors were missing after US destroyer and a container ship collided off Japan

Seven Navy sailors were missing and the captain and at least two others were injured after a US destroyer and a container ship collided off the coast of Japan before dawn Saturday, the US Navy and Japanese coast guard reported.




The ship's captain, Cmdr. Bryce Benson, was airlifted to the US Naval Hospital in Yokosuka and was in stable condition, the US 7th Fleet said in a statement. Two other crew suffered cuts and bruises and were evacuated, it said. It was unclear how many others may have been hurt.

The Fitzgerald had limited propulsion after suffering damage on the right side below the water line and a US defense official 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. Most of the more than 200 sailors aboard would have been asleep in their berths, some of which were reportedly flooded.

The area is particularly busy with sea traffic, said Yutaka Saito of the coast guard.

The Navy, Japanese maritime defense vessels and the coast guard were working to stabilize the destroyer as it headed to shore, said Navy chief Adm. John Richardson. The Navy said that the collision occurred 56 nautical miles (103 kilometers) southwest of Yokosuka, which is home to the 7th Fleet.



  US ship captain Cmdr Bryce Benson


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

Relatives of crew members were awaiting news of their loved ones.



More fact about Bryce Benson

Bryce Benson, the commander of the USS Fitzgerald, is a Wisconsin native who was injured in the collision between the Navy destroyer and a Philippine merchant vessel.

Seven U.S. sailors are missing at sea after the June 16 incident between the 505-foot Navy destroyer and a larger container ship called the ACX Crystal.

The cause has not yet been released. The incident is still under investigation, and right now, efforts are focused on stabilizing the ship and, most importantly, finding the missing sailors.

As the commander of the ship, and a relatively new one at that, Benson has found himself suddenly thrust into the public eye.

Benson was among those injured in the collision with the ACX Crystal container ship, which occurred about 56 nautical miles of Yokosuka, Japan. However, it appears he will be OK.



Cmdr. Bryce Benson, Fitzgerald’s commanding officer, “was injured in the collision and “transferred to U.S. Naval Hospital Yokosuka and is reportedly in stable condition,” according to a press statement by the U.S. 7th Fleet.

In addition to the captain and those missing, two sailors suffered injuries. “2 Sailors in addition to Cmdr. Benson have been medevac’d from FITZ to USNH-Yokosuka for lacerations & bruises,” reported the U.S. 7th Fleet.

Most concerning, of course: Those who are missing.

Benson’s Naval career began in Wisconsin through the Navy’s ROTC program.

“A native of Green Bay, Wisconsin, CDR Bryce Benson graduated from Marquette University, Milwaukee, Wisconsin in 1999 and earned his commission through the Naval ROTC program,” the US 7th Fleet wrote in a biography of Benson.


"Just heard the sweetest voice and saw a wonderful face. He's okay. Thank you all for the prayers," Rita Schrimsher of Athens, Alabama, tweeted after speaking with her 23-year-old grandson Jackson Schrimsher via Facetime.

"It could have been worse so we're grateful," she said by phone.

The Philippine ship is 29,060 tons and is 222 meters (730 feet) long, the coast guard said, much larger than the 8,315-ton naval destroyer. Aerial television news footage showed its bow on the left side was dented and scraped, but it did not appear to have suffered any major structural damage.

The fleet said the USS Dewey, medical assistance, Navy tugs and naval aircraft were dispatched. The Japan coast guard dispatched five patrol ships and an aircraft carrying medics to the site for search and rescue operations.

The Navy's Pacific Fleet said the extent of damage to the Fitzgerald was being determined and the incident was under investigation.

(AP)
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