A naval U.S. destroyer was involved in a nighttime collision with a Philippine-flagged merchant vessel operating off the coast of Japan, on June 17. The container ship was about four times its size, 29,060 tons and 222 meters (730 feet) long. It is unclear how fast the destroyer was traveling. The collision damaged Fitzgerald's forward starboard side above and below the water line.
About 200 sailors were aboard the ship at the time of the collision. Most of them have been asleep. Seven Navy sailors were missing. At least three sailors, including the ship’s captain, Cmdr. Bryce Benson, were injured and required medical evacuation, according to the Navy. Benson was taken to the U.S. Naval Hospital Yokosuka. He was reported to be in stable condition. The 20 member Filipino crew aboard the commercial ship was safe. It’s unclear what caused the collision.
Damaged area of destroyer
The badly damaged guided-missile destroyer USS Fitzgerald returned to its home port Yokosuka Naval Base, south of Tokyo, about 16 hours after the collision. The flooding on the Fitzgerald was stabilized. Search for the missing sailors continued with help pf U.S. aircraft as well as Japanese helicopters. “Right now we are focused on two things: the safety of the ship and the well-being of the sailors,” said Adm. Scott Swift, commander of the U.S. Pacific Fleet.
The seven sailors that were missing have been found dead. "As search and rescue crews gained access to the spaces that were damaged during the collision this morning, the missing sailors were located in the flooded berthing compartments," a statement of the Navy said.