Navy Identifies Sailors Killed in Collision

Cheryl Sanders
June 19, 2017

The Navy released the name of the seven sailors killed aboard the USS Fitzgerald after their bodies were found in the flooded destroyer, which had collided with a container ship off Japan.

Sonar Technician 3rd Class Ngoc T Truong Huynh, 25, from Oakville, Conn.

The cousin of a U.S. Navy sailor from OH says the 37-year-old man was three months shy of retiring when he was killed this weekend in a collision between a destroyer and a container ship off Japan.

The damaged destroyer was back at its home port in Yokosuka Naval Base south of Tokyo by sunset Saturday, its crew lined up on deck.

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, Japan's coastguard said.

The Fitzgerald's captain, Commander Bryce Benson, suffered a head injury in the collision and was airlifted to the US Naval Hospital in Yokosuka.

The U.S. Navy has identified the seven sailors killed Saturday in a ship collision, and one of them is a Texas native.

Japan's coastguard is also investigating why it took almost an hour before the Philippine ship reported the collision, a coastguard spokesman said.

Crew members from the destroyer USS Dewey stabilized the flooding on the Fitzgerald, and American sailors and the Japanese Coast Guard continued to search for the missing sailors. The remains of the sailors who died also were taken to the hospital for identification. Most of the more than 200 sailors aboard would have been asleep in their berths at the time of the pre-dawn crash.

This was due to the Navy wanting to identify the bodies and let the next of kin know of the deaths before making a formal announcement, it said.

"We were sailing in the same direction as the United States destroyer was and then collided", the ACX Crystal captain told the Jiji Press. 'We thank our Japanese partners for their assistance'.

The U.S.S. Fitzgerald is shown to be badly listing to the starboard as it is towed into Yokosuka. However, Aucoin said that, "his cabin had been damaged".

"We are fully cooperating with the investigation", said Manami Meguro, a spokeswoman for Nippon Yusen.

Seven Fitzgerald sailors were reported unaccounted for after the collision, and the Japanese Coast Guard launched a search effort, according a release.

The water flow into compartments that were berthing areas for 116 of the ship's crew was "tremendous", he said, adding that "there wasn't a lot of time in those spaces that were open to the sea".

Aucoin said the Navy will launch an investigation into the collision because "we owe it to our families and the Navy to understand what happened".

The ACX Crystal weighs 29,060 tons and 730 feet, much larger than the 8,315-ton destroyer.

The path of the Fitzgerald before the collision is not clear because military ships do not transmit location data like commercial vessels.

Earlier, the 7th Fleet said the USA ship sustained damage on its starboard side and experienced flooding in some spaces.

"This was a severe emergency, but the ship's crew was swift and responsive and I can't tell you how proud I am of the crew for what they did to save the ship", Aucoin said.

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