US Navy confirms all 7 missing sailors from USS Fitzgerald found dead

Navy divers found the bodies of missing sailors Saturday aboard the stricken USS Fitzgerald that collided with a container ship in the busy sea off Japan, the Navy said.

It was inside those flooded berthing compartments that search teams found the bodies of seven sailors Sunday morning.

The navy said families are being notified and provided with support during "this hard time".

Seven sailors were missing, and while the U.S. Navy hasn't yet made an official statement about the exact number of bodies, CNN reports a navy official saying seven bodies have now been found. It's also been reported that the shipping company that operates the ACX Crystal, Nippon Yusen K.K., as well as the Japanese Coast Guard, have both stated that the collision occurred around 1:30 a.m.

A member of the U.S. Navy Damage Control Training Team is seen near the U.S. national flag on the Arleigh Burke-class guided-missile destroyer USS Fitzgerald, at the U.S. naval base in Yokosuka, south of Tokyo, Japan, on Sun., June 18, 2017.

Benson is one of three injured sailors who were transferred by helicopter to U.S. Naval Hospital Yokosuka for treatment after the collision.

"U.S. and Japanese support from the Navy, Maritime Self-Defense Force and Coast Guard are in the area to ensure that the sailors on USS Fitzgerald have the resources they need to stabilize their ship", said Adm. John Richardson, Chief of Naval Operations, in an earlier statement.

"You can't see most of the damage", he explained. The weather was clear with a swell of about 1.8m at the time.

Nippon Yusen said in a statement it is collaborating with the ship owner and fully cooperating with the investigation by the coast guard.

Three people injured in the incident have been moved to the U.S. Naval Hospital in Yokosuka.

Vice Adm. Joseph Aucoin, the commander of the 7th Fleet, described a harrowing scene as other sailors fought to keep the ship from sinking.

The Philippine-flagged container ship was berthed at Tokyo's Oi wharf, where officials began questioning crew members about the cause of the crash.

The destroyer suffered severe damage to its starboard side, while the container ship sustained light damage.

US aircraft as well as Japanese helicopters were dispatched to help assist the search effort.

Those who did not survive might have killed by the impact of the crash or drowned by the flooding, Navy spokesman Lieutenant Paul Newell said.

Multiple investigations into the collision are expected.

The crew's response was swift and effective, and I want to point out - as we stand by the ship - how proud I am of them.

"We owe it to our families and the Navy to understand what happened", Aucoin said.

I ask all of you to keep the affected families in your thoughts and prayers, and respect their privacy as we work to get them the answers they deserve regarding their loved ones.

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

Because of the hour when the collision happened, many sailors were sleeping, but the ship had a "full complement" of bridge crew on duty, Aucoin said.

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