The U.S. Navy, having notified the families of the seven sailors who died at sea after a collision between the USS Fitzgerald and 29,060-ton container ship called the ACX Crystal on Saturday, released the names of deceased by late Sunday.
The Navy has identified the deceased as follows: Gunner’s Mate Seaman Dakota Kyle Rigsby, 19, of Palmyra, Va.; Yeoman 3rd Class Shingo Alexander Douglass, 25, of San Diego, Calif.; Sonar Technician 3rd Class Ngoc T. Truong Huynh, 25, of Oakville, Conn.; Gunner’s Mate 2nd Class Noe Hernandez, 26, of Weslaco, Texas; Fire Controlman 2nd Class Carlosvictor Ganzon Sibayan, 23, of Chula Vista, Calif.; Personnel Specialist 1st Class Xavier Alec Martin, 24, of Halethorpe, Md; Fire Controlman 1st Class Gary Leo Rehm Jr., 37, of Elyria, Ohio.
Divers found the missing sailors after they were able to gain access to parts of the USS Fitzgerald that were damaged in the collision.
The Navy announced that “the missing Sailors were located in the flooded berthing compartments.”
The mother of a U.S. Navy sailor said her son kept diving to try to save his shipmates after a collision at sea until their flooded sleeping berth began running out of air pockets, while other survivors — believing their ship was under attack — hurried to man the guns.
Mia Sykes of Raleigh, N.C., told The Associated Press on Sunday that her 19-year-old son, Brayden Harden, was knocked out of his bunk by the impact, and water immediately began filling the berth, after the Fitzgerald collided with a Philippine-flagged container ship four times its size off the Japanese coast.
The ships collided about 2:20 a.m. Saturday, when the Navy said most of the 300 sailors on board would have been sleeping, and authorities have declined to speculate on a cause while the crash remains under investigation.
Sykes says her son told her that four men in his berth, including those sleeping on bunks above and below him, died, while three died in the berth above his.
“They did what they were trained to do,” said Sykes, who said she hopes her son, from Herrin, Ill., can come home to be with family as he works through what happened. “You have to realize most of them are 18, 19 and 20-year-olds living with guilt. But I told him, ‘There’s a reason you’re still here, and make that count.'”
“We are all deeply saddened by the tragic loss of our fellow shipmates,” acting Navy Secretary Sean Stackley has said in a statement. “As details emerge, we can all be proud of the heroic effort by the crew to tend to the needs of those injured and save the ship from further damage while returning safely to port.”
The Associated Press contributed to this report.