** Update – Bodies of missing sailors have been found **
17 June 2017 – Search and rescue efforts continue by U.S. and Japanese aircraft and
surface vessels in the hopes of recovering the seven Sailors of the USS Fitzgerald
(DDG 62) that are still unaccounted for after it was involved in a collision with the
Philippine flagged merchant vessel ACX Crystal at approximately 2:30 a.m. local time,
June 17, while operating about 56 nautical miles southwest of Yokosuka, Japan.
Shortly after the collision the U.S. made a request for support from the Japanese
Coast Guard, which first arrived on scene and continues to be lead for finding the
seven missing Sailors. The Japan Maritime Self Defense Force ships JS Ohnami, JS
Hamagiri, and JS Enshu have joined the JCG ships Izanami and Kano and USS
Dewey (DDG 105). A U.S. P-8 Poseidon aircraft is working in concert with two
JMSDF Helicopters and a JMSDF P-3 Orion aircraft to search the area. Names of the
missing Sailors are being withheld until the families have been notified.
The collision effected 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, which damage control teams quickly began
dewatering. While those efforts helped stabilize the flooding, it remains uncertain how
long it will take to gain access to the spaces once the ship is pier side in Yokosuka in
order to methodically continue the search for the missing.
Once the ship arrives in Yokosuka, divers will inspect the damage and develop a plan
for repairs and inspection of the spaces.
As of this time, there have been three patients requiring medical evacuation. One was
Cmdr. Bryce Benson, Fitzgerald’s commanding officer, who was transferred to U.S.
Naval Hospital Yokosuka by a Japanese Maritime Self-Defense Force (JMSDF)
helicopter. All three Sailors are awake and will remain under observation at the
hospital until further notice. Two additional personnel have been medevac’d from
Fitzgerald to USNH-Yokosuka by Helicopter Sea Combat Squadron 12 (HSC-12) for
lacerations and bruises. Other injured are being assessed aboard the ship.
The USS Fitzgerald Emergency Family Assistance Center will remain open for
chaplain and counselor care indefinitely, 24/7, on the Command Readiness Center’s
4th Floor (across from the commissary) – in the same classroom where the Area
Orientation Brief (AOB) is hosted.
Interested family should call DSN at: 315-243-1728, 1729, 1730, 1731, 1731, 1732,
1733, 1734, 1735 or Commercial at: +81-46-816-1728, 1729, 1730, 1731, 1731, 1732,
1733, 1734, 1735