( Daily Mail ) Rescuers are searching for seven US Sailors thought to be lost at sea or trapped inside a damaged Navy destroyer which collided with a 29,000 ton cargo ship 56 miles off the coast of Japan Saturday.
The guided missile destroyer USS Fitzgerald suffered severe damage when the container ship ACX Crystal – which is four times the size of the naval vessel – plowed into it at 2.30am local time.
Aerial footage shows the crushed exterior of the 9,000 ton $1.5billion destroyer which is commanded by Commander Bryce Benson, who took over in May.
Japanese coast guard spokesman Yoshihito Nakamura said the rescuers are searching for the seamen who were thought to have been thrown into the sea or possibly trapped inside damaged sections of the destroyer. Two crew berthings and one engineering main space have been flooded.
Three aboard the destroyer were medically evacuated, including the ship’s commanding officer, Cmdr. Benson, who was reportedly in stable condition after being airlifted to the U.S. Naval Hospital in Yokosuka, the Navy said.
The other two injured were transferred to the hospital for lacerations and bruises, while other injuries were being assessed, it said.
‘It was a was real fight by crew to keep the ship afloat. Our concerns now are with ship mates; seven sailors missing and 2 evacuees. When the news came we were all focused on the safety of or ship and the crew,’ a naval spokesman in Yokosuka told DailyMail.com. ‘We at the base are still reeling from the events.’
Read more: Seven sailors missing feared dead after $1.5bn US Navy destroyer collides with 29,000 ton cargo ship at 2.30am off Japan – crushing sleeping quarters and leaving the crew ‘fighting to keep her afloat’