Bodies of 7 missing sailors found aboard damaged ship identified

The bodies of seven missing sailors have been found aboard the USS Fitzgerald in a damaged compartment on the destroyer, according to the Navy.

The Japan-based 7th Fleet identified the victims on Monday as Gunner’s Mate Seaman Dakota Kyle Rigsby, 19, from Palmyra, Virginia; Yeoman 3rd Class Shingo Alexander Douglass, 25, from San Diego, California; Sonar Technician 3rd Class Ngoc T Truong Huynh, 25, from Oakville, Connecticut; Gunner’s Mate 2nd Class Noe Hernandez, 26, from Weslaco, Texas; Fire Controlman 2nd Class Carlosvictor Ganzon Sibayan, 23, from Chula Vista, California; Personnel Specialist 1st Class Xavier Alec Martin, 24, from Halethorpe, Maryland; and Fire Controlman 1st Class Gary Leo Rehm Jr., 37, from Elyria, Ohio.

The ship collided with a merchant ship off the coast of Japan on Saturday.

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Search crews found the missing sailors after they were able to gain access to parts of the ship that were damaged in the collision.

The remains are being taken to the Naval Hospital Yokosuka for identification. 

In a brief written statement, the U.S. Pacific Fleet in Hawaii said the Navy requested assistance from the Japanese Coast Guard. The boat returned safely to its home port of Yokosuka, Japan on Saturday night, ending its 17-hour ordeal.

The Fitzgerald collided with a merchant ship 56 nautical miles southwest of Yokosuka, Japan. 

Cmdr. Bryce Benson, commander of the guided missile destroyer, was one of three injured personnel who needed to be flown to a naval hospital in Yokosuka, Japan, CNN reported. He is in stable condition, the Navy said.

The Fitzgerald is based in Yokosuka and has a crew of approximately 330 sailors.

The damage to the ship is extensive, the Navy Times reported. Images show that the ship had taken on massive amounts of water. A news release from U.S. Seventh Fleet confirmed that two berthing spaces, an auxiliary machine room and the ship’s radio room all flooded. 

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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