Two local high school grads among those killed on USS Fitzgerald


Raleigh, North Carolina, resident Mia Sykes told the AP that her son, Brayden Harden, 19, was knocked out of his bunk by the impact of the crash, and that water immediately began filling the berth.

Carmen said she reached out to other families after the collision. "You have to realize a lot of them are 18, 19 and 20-year-olds living with guilt".

Speaking in reference to the accident on Monday, Vice Admiral Joseph Aucoin, the commander of the US Navy's 7th Fleet, told reporters that "our deepest sympathies are with the families of these sailors".

Aucoin said repairs to the ship could take months, and hopefully would be done in less than a year.

"They had to fight the ship to keep it above the surface".

"We are working to gain access to the crew of the Philippine-flagged vessel but it's taking a little bit of time to make that happen", Carr said.

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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. Out of concern for the families and the notification process, I will decline to state how many we have found at this time.

"The collision affected Fitzgerald's forward starboard side above and below the water line, causing significant damage and associated flooding to two berthing spaces, a machinery space, and the radio room", according to a statement from U.S. 7th Fleet.

Even though the vessel was listing badly on the starboard side, the crew was able to navigate the damaged destroyer into the heavily-trafficked Yokosuka port with a magnetic compass and backup navigation equipment, Aucoin said.

The damage to the destroyer may suggest that the container ship slammed into it at a high speed, according to The AP.

"This was not a small collision".

Three U.S. sailors, including the Fitzgerald's commanding officer, Cmdr. Three others were injured in the attack, including the captain, Commander Bryce Benson, who was airlifted to the naval hospital at Yokosuka. "Under my authority, I am initiating a JAGMAN investigation into this collision, and I will appoint a flag officer to lead that investigation".

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There are now multiple investigations into the accident, from both the U.S. Navy and Coast Guard as well as the Japan's Coast Guard and its Transport Safety Board.

Japan's coastguard is conducting a probe, including interviewing the Japanese-owned container ship's Filipino crew, although the U.S. has primary jurisdiction in probing accidents involving military personnel. Footage from Japanese broadcaster NHK showed a sharp horizontal cut across the bow area, which looked like a shark's mouth.

Under maritime law, the container ship had an obligation to avoid a collision if it was trying to overtake the destroyer from behind.

The Japanese Coast Guard has reportedly finished questioning the 20 Filipino crew members of the cargo ship, who were unharmed.

The Japanese coast guard questioned crew members of the ACX Crystal, and officials may treat it as a case of professional negligence.

The ACX Crystal then made a U-turn and returned around 2:20 the area near the collision.

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