News World Seven sailors reported missing after US Navy destroyer collides with trade ship off Japan coast

Seven sailors reported missing after US Navy destroyer collides with trade ship off Japan coast

The USS Fitzgerald is reportedly taking on water as fears mount for seven crew. Photo: AAP
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USS Fitzgerald’s Commander Bryce Benson has been airlifted to a US naval hospital, a second sailor is currently being transferred and seven crew members are reportedly missing after a US Navy destroyer collided with a Philippine-flagged merchant ship off the coast of Japan on Saturday.

The US 7th Fleet said the collision occurred 56 nautical miles southwest of Yokosuka, which is home to a US Navy base.

According to the fleet’s Facebook page, Commander Benson was transferred to U.S. Naval Hospital Yokosuka and is reportedly in a stable condition.

“Other injured are being assessed. There are seven sailors unaccounted for; the ship and the Japanese Coast Guard continues to search for them,” the statement read.

Footage from Japanese broadcaster NHK showed a person in a stretcher being lifted from the deck to a Japan Coast Guard helicopter.

The injured sailor had a head injury, but details of his or her condition were unknown.

Mr Aikawa said the US ship is partially flooded because of damage and not capable of moving by itself.

Live footage shot from a helicopter on Saturday morning by NHK showed heavy damage to the mid-right side of the Navy ship, which appeared to be stationary in the water.

The Pentagon said the destroyer’s propulsion is limited.

Mr Aikawa also said no damage or injuries to the container ship or its crew members have been reported.

Reuters newsagency is reporting the Japanese Coast Guard said it received an emergency call from a Philippine-registered container ship ACX Crystal early on Saturday that it had collided with the USS Fitzgerald southwest of Yokusuka, Japan.

The Philippine ship is 29,060 tons and is 222.6 meters (730 feet) long, the coast guard said.

The coast guard dispatched five patrol ships and an aircraft carrying medics to the site for search and rescue operations.

The USS Dewey, medical assistance and two Navy tugs have also being dispatched as quickly as possible, the US Navy said.

Naval aircraft are also being readied to help.

The Pacific Fleet said the incident was under investigation.

— with agencies

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