The bodies of seven U.S. sailors who were missing after the USS Fitzgerald collided with a container ship off the coast of Japan early Saturday were found in flooded compartments, the U.S. 7th Fleet said in a statement Sunday. The victims of the crash have not been identified, but their families are being notified and rescue efforts are complete. "I ask your thoughts and prayers for the family members and the crew," said 7th Fleet commander Vice Admiral Joseph P. Aucoin.
The collision created a "large gash near the keel of the ship, so the water flow was tremendous" and the crew "had to fight the ship to keep it above the surface," Aucoin added. "I can't tell you how proud I am of the crew for what they did to save the ship." Though the Navy ship came close to sinking, it will be repaired and returned to service in about a year.
Investigations into why the crash happened are ongoing. The merchant ship made an unexpected turn, but the more agile destroyer should have been able to avoid its path.