Search for 7 Navy Sailors Ends After Bodies Found on Ship

The search for seven missing U.S. sailors was called off Sunday after bodies were found aboard the destroyer that collided with a container vessel Saturday, the commander of the U.S. Navy’s 7th Fleet said.

At a news conference at the Yokosuka naval base in Kanagawa Prefecture, Vice Adm. Joseph Aucoin didn’t specify the number of bodies found and said the names of the deceased would be withheld until their families are notified.

The grim information came a day after the guided-missile destroyer USS Fitzgerald collided with a Philippine-flagged, Japanese-charted container ship about 100 km southwest of Yokosuka.

The Fitzgerald, which has the state-of-the-art Aegis missile-defense system, was believed to have been deployed to monitor missiles being tested by North Korea.

“We have found the remains of a number of our missing” sailors, Aucoin said.

As search crews gained access to damaged sections, several bodies were located in flooded berthing compartments, the 7th Fleet said in a statement.

Their remains were transferred to Naval Hospital Yokosuka, Aucoin said.