2 injured airlifted after US Navy ship collision


Seven US sailors are missing and the commanding officer of a US destroyer is among the injured after the warship collided with a merchant ship off the coast of Japan, the US Navy said Friday.

Some crewmembers were hurt when a US Navy destroyer collided with a cargo ship off of the coast of Japan on Saturday, the Navy said. Bryce Benson, who was reportedly in stable condition after being airlifted to the U.S. Naval Hospital on the Yokosuka base, the Navy said.

The Navy said the Fitzgerald was operating under its own power, "although her propulsion is limited".

A U.S. defense official told AFP that "sailors are de-watering" flooded areas of the ship.

Footage showed extensive damage to the mid-right side of the naval ship, which is an Arleigh Burke-class (Flight I) guided missile destroyer built in 1993.

None of the 20 crew members aboard, all Filipino, were injured, and the ship is not leaking oil, Nippon Yusen said. The accident has caused some injuries, and at least three compartments of the Fitzgerald were flooding.

The Navy said in a statement that it had requested the help of the Japanese Coast Guard in response to the collision. The Navy has promised an investigation into the incident, and has dispatched a medical ship, along with tugboats, to the scene.

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The ship's commander was evacuated by a Japanese coast guard helicopter while US military copters evacuated two injured US sailors, according to US Forces Japan.

Aikawa said the U.S. ship is partially flooded because of damage.

There have been no reports of injuries of any of the crew on the Philippine container ship, which is named ACX Crystal.

Footage from the Japanese TV network NHK showed heavy damage to the mid-right side of the USS Fitzgerald and a person in a stretcher being lifted to a helicopter.

"We are coordinating with the relevant authorities including the governments of the USA and Japan to determine exactly the extent of damage and the number of casualties, especially if any Filipino nationals are involved", it said.

The collision resulted in damage to the Fitzgerald's starboard side amidships, both above and below the waterline, and she is taking on water and listing. The full extent of damage is being determined.