Published: Tue, June 20, 2017
USA | By Kelli Rowe

Trump expresses grief with seven deceased US sailors

Trump expresses grief with seven deceased US sailors

The Navy said that the collision happened at the home of the 7th Fleet which is 103 kilometers southwest of Yokosuka.

The sister of a U.S. Navy sailor from CT who was killed in a collision between a destroyer and a container ship off Japan is describing her brother as "selfless".

The U.S. Navy says it still believes that a collision between the destroyer USS Fitzgerald and a container ship occurred at 2:20 a.m., even though Japanese coast guard officials say it happened about an hour earlier.

In a tweet Sunday, the Navy said the search is continuing.

Several other USA crew members were injured in the accident and had to be evacuated by air to hospital, including the vessel's commanding officer Bryce Benson. All three patients are alert and under observation at Naval Hospital Yokosuka.

Japan's coastguard is conducting a probe, including interviewing the Japanese-owned container ship's Filipino crew, although the US has primary jurisdiction in probing accidents involving military personnel.

The U.S. 7th Fleet commander promised multiple investigations into Saturday's fatal collision between the destroyer Fitzgerald and a Philippine-flagged containership. Richard Gourley of the U.S. Naval Forces Japan said.

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He thanked "our Japanese allies" for their swift assistance, and said the Navy will fully investigate the cause.

"Heroic efforts prevented the flooding from catastrophically spreading which could have caused the ship to founder or sink".

"But to be clear: my sole focus now has shifted to helping the grieving family, crew and friends of the Fitzgerald".

"Because it was in an emergency, the crew members may not have been able to place a call", she said. There is also a possibility the container ship might have tried to cut in front or in back of the destroyer and accidentally slammed into its side.

Petty Officer 3rd Class Shingo Alexander Douglass, 25, was one of seven sailors killed Saturday when the Japan-based USS Fitzgerald and Philippine- flagged ACX Crystal collided.

Three others aboard the ship were injured in the collision, including the Fitzgerald's commanding officer, Cmdr. It is in talks with the US Navy for access to its crew members and data from the destroyer, a spokesman for the organisation said.

He added, "Our deepest sympathies are with the families of these sailors". Aucoin, speaking at a news conference at the base, wouldn't say how many bodies were recovered, pending notification of next of kin. The families are being notified and will be provided the support they need at this hard time.

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The Navy released the sailors' names Sunday.

On Monday, President Donald Trump tweeted, "My heartfelt thoughts and prayers are with the 7 U.S. Navy sailors of the #USSFitzgerald and their families".

"We [are] going to cooperate with all the stakeholders in this, especially with the Japanese. It could have been much worse", Aucoin said. But on Sunday, a group of accident investigators from the Japanese transport ministry found damage to the container ship that had been hidden under the waterline when it arrived in Tokyo the previous night.

Braniff also said the family has received support and condolences through Facebook and those messages reaffirmed that "Gary was a great person".

There are at least four investigations underway - three by US authorities and one by Japanese officials.

More information on any further investigations will be forthcoming, the admiral said.

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