Bodies Of 7 Missing Sailors Found Inside Wrecked Navy Ship

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"The damage was significant, this was not a small collision", he said, adding that the crew's response was "swift and effective". The destroyer is salvageable, but repairs probably will take months, he said.

"Hopefully less than a year", Aucoin said. "You will see the USS Fitzgerald back ..."

Vice Adm. Joseph P. Aucoin declined to say how numerous seven missing sailors had been recovered, but Japanese media said all had died.

In a tweet Sunday, the Navy says the search for the missing sailors is continuing.

"A number of Sailors that were missing from the collision between USS Fitzgerald (DDG 62) and a merchant ship have been found".

"They are now being transferred to Naval Hospital Yokosuka where they will be identified", it added. The other two sailors suffered lacerations and bruises.

But on Sunday, a group of accident investigators from the Japanese transport ministry found damage to the container ship that had been hidden under the waterline when it arrived in Tokyo the previous night. The flooding was in two berthing compartments, the radio room and auxiliary machine room.

The collision happened early on Saturday when most of the 200 crew on board the USS Fitzgerald were asleep.

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In addition to the missing, at least three other sailors-including the ship's captain, Cmdr. He had previously commanded a minesweeper based in Sasebo in western Japan.

It is now unclear how the collision occurred. "Once an investigation is complete then any legal issues can be addressed", a spokesman for the U.S. 7th Fleet said.

Authorities are looking into endangerment of transport caused by expert carelessness, Japanese broadcasting stated, however, it is unclear whether that would apply to one or both of the ships.

Japan's coast guard officials said the sea and air search was still continuing at the site of the collision.

The collision caused severe damage to the ship's starboard side above and below the water line and caused flooding in several parts of the ship, according to a statement obtained by CNN.

It had been carrying 1,080 containers from Nagoya to Tokyo and a statement from Nippon Yusen KK, which charters the ship, said they would "cooperate fully" with the investigation into the crash.

Japan's coastguard is conducting an investigation into the accident―including interviewing the container ship's Filipino crew―although the U.S. has primary jurisdiction in probing accidents involving military personnel. They are especially congested in the early hours of the day, with ships carrying cargo for early morning delivery in Tokyo.

The ACX Crystal, which was carrying a crew of 20, was only "slightly damaged" in the crash, according to the Philippine Department of Foreign Affairs, and no injuries were reported.

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