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News broke early Saturday that the Navy destroyer, the USS Fitzgerald, collided with a container ship four times its size off the coast of Japan.


Seven American sailors are missing and both U.S. and Japanese planes and boats are participating in the rescue efforts.

After helping stabilize the USS Fitzgerald, the destroyer USS Dewey joined other American and Japanese vessels and aircraft in the search for the missing sailors.

At least three other Navy sailors were injured in the collision, including the ship’s commander, Cmdr. Bryce Benson.

The U.S. 7th Fleet said in a statement that the crash damaged two berthing spaces, a machinery room and the radio room. Most of the more than 200 sailors aboard would have been asleep in their berths at the time of the pre-dawn crash.

“This has been a difficult day,” said Vice Adm. Joseph P. Aucoin, the commander of the 7th Fleet. “I am humbled by the bravery and tenacity of the Fitzgerald crew. Now that the ship is in Yokosuka, I ask that you help the families by maintaining their privacy as we continue the search for our shipmates.”

Aucoin said the search for the missing sailors is active.

President Trump has responded to the situation on Twitter.

“Thoughts and prayers with the sailors of USS Fitzgerald and their families. Thank you to our Japanese allies for their assistance,” he said.

The ACX Crystal weighs 29,060 tons and is 222 meters (730 feet) long, the coast guard said, much larger than the 8,315-ton Navy destroyer. The container ship’s left bow was dented and scraped, but it did not appear to have sustained any major structural damage.

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The names of the missing sailors were being withheld pending notification of their families. U.S. Navy personnel set up support and counseling services to help families as they sought updates on crew members.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

Matt Naham About the author:
Matt Naham is the Weekend Editor  for Rare. Follow him on Twitter @matt_naham.
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