USS Fitzgerald collision: Athens man among sailors on board - WAFF-TV: News, Weather and Sports for Huntsville, AL

USS Fitzgerald collision: Athens man among sailors on board

(Japan's Defense Ministry via AP). In this photo released by Japan's Defense Ministry, an injured USS Fitzgerald personnel is carried by U.S. military personnel, left, and Japanese Maritime Self-Defense Force members upon arriving to the U.S. Naval base. (Japan's Defense Ministry via AP). In this photo released by Japan's Defense Ministry, an injured USS Fitzgerald personnel is carried by U.S. military personnel, left, and Japanese Maritime Self-Defense Force members upon arriving to the U.S. Naval base.
(Iori Sagisawa/Kyodo News via AP). The damage of the right side of the USS Fitzgerald is seen off Shimoda, Shizuoka prefecture, Japan, after the Navy destroyer collided with a merchant ship, Saturday, June 17, 2017. (Iori Sagisawa/Kyodo News via AP). The damage of the right side of the USS Fitzgerald is seen off Shimoda, Shizuoka prefecture, Japan, after the Navy destroyer collided with a merchant ship, Saturday, June 17, 2017.

By EUGENE HOSHIKO and KOJI UEDA
Associated Press

YOKOSUKA, Japan (AP) - U.S. and Japanese vessels and aircraft searched Saturday for seven American sailors who were missing after their Navy destroyer collided before dawn with a container ship four times its size off the coast of Japan.

The USS Fitzgerald was back at its home port in Yokosuka Naval Base south of Tokyo by sunset Saturday, its crew lined up on deck. The Philippine-flagged container ship was berthed at Tokyo's Oi wharf, where officials began questioning crew members about the cause of the nighttime crash.

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.

Family members were frantically seeking news, appealing via social media for calls from sailors aboard from the ship.

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.

Water was being pumped out of flooded areas and it was unclear how long it would take to get into the crushed mid-right side of the ship once it was at the pier in Yokosuka, the statement said.

"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."

The USS Fitzgerald's captain, Cmdr. Bryce Benson, was airlifted early Saturday to the U.S. Naval Hospital in Yokosuka and was in stable condition with a head injury, the Navy said. Two other crew members suffered cuts and bruises and were evacuated. It was unclear how many others may have been hurt.

The Navy said that the collision occurred 56 nautical miles (103 kilometers) southwest of Yokosuka, home to the 7th Fleet.

"Right now we are focused on two things: the safety of the ship and the well-being of the sailors," said Adm. Scott Swift, commander of the U.S. Pacific Fleet.

The Japanese coast guard said it received an emergency call from the container ship, the ACX Crystal, reporting the collision at around 2:20 a.m. (1720 GMT Friday). It was questioning crew members of the ACX Crystal, which is operated by the Japanese shipping company Nippon Yusen K.K., and was treating the incident as a case of possible professional negligence, said Masayuki Obara, a regional coast guard official.

"Thoughts and prayers with the sailors of USS Fitzgerald and their families," President Donald Trump said on Twitter. "Thank you to our Japanese allies for their assistance."

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.

Nippon Yusen said all of the ACX Crystal's 20-member Filipino crew members were safe.

Conditions were clear at the time of the collision, though Yutaka Saito of the coast guard said the area is particularly busy with sea traffic.

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.

"Just heard the sweetest voice and saw a wonderful face. He's okay. Thank you all for the prayers," Rita Schrimsher of Athens, Alabama, tweeted after speaking with her 23-year-old grandson, Jackson Schrimsher, via Facetime.

"It could have been worse, so we're grateful," she said by phone.

___

Associated Press writers Mari Yamaguchi and Elaine Kurtenbach in Tokyo and Cathy Bussewitz and Jennifer Kelleher in Honolulu contributed to this report.

Copyright 2017 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

  • NationalMore>>

  • Illinois lawmakers weigh compromise on guns, death penalty

    Illinois lawmakers weigh compromise on guns, death penalty

    Monday, May 21 2018 12:42 PM EDT2018-05-21 16:42:04 GMT
    Monday, May 21 2018 12:45 PM EDT2018-05-21 16:45:10 GMT
    (AP Photo by John O'Connor File). FILE - In this May 8, 2018 photo, Gov. Bruce Rauner, center, addresses reporters outside his state Capitol office in Springfield, Ill. Rauner, a Republican, wants to reinstate the death penalty in the state. He added t...(AP Photo by John O'Connor File). FILE - In this May 8, 2018 photo, Gov. Bruce Rauner, center, addresses reporters outside his state Capitol office in Springfield, Ill. Rauner, a Republican, wants to reinstate the death penalty in the state. He added t...
    The Democratic-controlled Illinois Legislature is set to begin weighing Republican Gov. Bruce Rauner's compromise plan to reinstate the death penalty in exchange for even stricter gun restrictions than the ones...More >>
    The Democratic-controlled Illinois Legislature is set to begin weighing Republican Gov. Bruce Rauner's compromise plan to reinstate the death penalty in exchange for even stricter gun restrictions than the ones legislators approved.More >>
  • Pastor: Mental illness drove man to ram car into his family

    Pastor: Mental illness drove man to ram car into his family

    Monday, May 21 2018 12:41 AM EDT2018-05-21 04:41:50 GMT
    Monday, May 21 2018 12:45 PM EDT2018-05-21 16:45:08 GMT
    (Gaston County Sheriff's Office via AP). This Sunday, May 20, 2018, booking photo provided by the Gaston County Sheriff's Office shows Roger Self. Police say that Self intentionally rammed a vehicle into a restaurant shortly after midday Sunday, May 20...(Gaston County Sheriff's Office via AP). This Sunday, May 20, 2018, booking photo provided by the Gaston County Sheriff's Office shows Roger Self. Police say that Self intentionally rammed a vehicle into a restaurant shortly after midday Sunday, May 20...
    Authorities say man intentionally rammed vehicle into a North Carolina restaurant busy with weekend lunch crowd, killing his daughter, another person and injuring several others.More >>
    Authorities say man intentionally rammed vehicle into a North Carolina restaurant busy with weekend lunch crowd, killing his daughter, another person and injuring several others.More >>
  • Official placed on leave over Afghanistan bombing claim

    Official placed on leave over Afghanistan bombing claim

    Monday, May 21 2018 12:12 PM EDT2018-05-21 16:12:02 GMT
    Monday, May 21 2018 12:45 PM EDT2018-05-21 16:45:02 GMT
    The State University of New York has placed a high-ranking official on leave after it was revealed that he may have fabricated a story about surviving a bombing in Afghanistan and other claims in a speech last fall.More >>
    The State University of New York has placed a high-ranking official on leave after it was revealed that he may have fabricated a story about surviving a bombing in Afghanistan and other claims in a speech last fall.More >>
Powered by Frankly
<div id="CDEV-footer"> <div class="top"> <div class="search-box"> <div class="wnSearchBox" id="WNSearchBox-bottom"><form method="get" onsubmit="return wnValidateSearchTerm(this,0)" action="/Global/searchresults.asp"><span>Can't Find Something? </span><input type="text" class="wnQueryText" name="qu" size="20" value="" placeholder="Search For It Here"><input type="submit" class="wnSubmit" value="Search"></form></div> </div> <div class="station-info"> <div class="logo"><img src="http://waff.images.worldnow.com/images/8801689_G.png" width="141" height="143" border="0" /></div> <div class="contact"> <div>1414 North Memorial Parkway<br>Huntsville, AL 35801</div> <div>(256) 533-4848</div> </div> <div class="fcc"> <div><a href="/link/579368/fcc-public-file">FCC Public File</a></div> <a href="mailto:dthomason@waff.com">dthomason@waff.com</a> <a href="/link/365814/eeo-public-file-repor">EEO Report</a> <a href="/story/12117541/closed-captioning-contact-information">Closed Captioning</a> </div> </div> </div> <div class="footer-main-nav"> <ul class="link-group"> <!--<li><a href="#">News Now Link</a></li> <li><a href="#">News Now Link</a></li> <li><a href="#">News Now Link</a></li> <li><a href="#">News Now Link</a></li>--> </ul> </div> <div class="news-link"> <ul class="link-group"> <li><a href="http://www.ktre.com/category/241993/texas-news-now">Texas News Now</a></li> </ul> </div> <div class="bottom"> <div class="copyrightText"> <a id="wnLogo" href="http://www.worldnow.com"><img src="http://ftpcontent.worldnow.com/wncorp/logos/worldnow_white.png" id="wn"></a> <div class="text"> All content &copy; Copyright 2000 - 2018 Raycom Media. All Rights Reserved. For more information on this site, please read our <a href="/story/8774923/privacy-policy">Privacy Policy</a>, and <a href="/story/8775106/terms-of-service">Terms of Service</a>, and <a class="adchoice" href="//www.aboutads.info/choices" target="policy">Ad Choices</a>. </div> <div class="clear"></div> </div> </div> </div>