Thursday, August 24, 2017

US Navy Suspends Search and Rescue Mission for Missing Sailors

The United States Navy has suspended search and rescue efforts for sailors missing after the USS John S. McCain crashed with a merchant vessel last week, identifying one deceased and nine missing sailors Thursday.

“After more than 80 hours of multi-national search efforts, the U.S. Navy suspended search and rescue efforts for missing USS John S. McCain sailors in an approximately 2,100-square mile area east of the Straits of Malacca and Singapore,” the U.S. Seventh Fleet said on its website.

U.S. investigators have been trying to determine what led to the collision with a Liberian tanker ship near the Strait of Malacca. Navy photos show a gaping hole below the waterline on the destroyer’s port side. Some sleeping areas and communications rooms flooded as a result.

The deceased sailor was identified as Electronics Technician 3rd Class Kenneth Aaron Smith, 22, from New Jersey.

In a June collision involving a U.S. destroyer, seven sailors from the USS Fitzgerald died when their vessel hit a container ship in waters off Japan. The Navy relieved the ship’s captain of his command, and further punitive actions are expected following an inquiry that found poor seamanship and flaws in keeping watch contributed to the collision.

The USS McCain is named for the father and grandfather of U.S. Senator John McCain, both of whom were four-star Navy admirals. The senator also was a naval officer and aviator who spent six years as a prisoner of war during the Vietnam War.

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