Washington (CNN) Seven US sailors are missing and the commanding officer of a US destroyer is among the injured after the warship collided with a merchant ship off the coast of Japan, the US Navy said Friday.
The USS Fitzgerald suffered damage to its starboard side above and below the waterline in the incident. Cmdr. Bryce Benson was one of three injured sailors who needed to be flown to a naval hospital in Yokosuka, Japan.
He is in stable condition, the Navy said. According to a Navy news release from last month, Benson took command of the ship May 13 after serving as the ship’s executive officer since November 2015.
US Navy Chief of Naval Operations Adm. John Richardson said three sailors were medevaced.
Other injured sailors are being assessed, the Navy said.
The two ships collided in the Pacific Ocean about 56 nautical miles off the coast of Yokosuka, the Japanese coast guard has told CNN. The damage to the Fitzgerald resulted in some flooding, the Navy said.
A Navy official told CNN the destroyer is under its own power but has limited propulsion.
The vessel was taking on water after the incident, but the crew was working to stabilize the ship by pumping water out of the hold, a US Navy official told CNN.
The Navy did say a Japanese coast guard helicopter was helping evacuate the injured, and Japanese state broadcaster NHK showed video of an apparently injured person being lifted aboard a coast guard helicopter from the ship.
The Japanese coast guard went on to say four of its vessels and one helicopter were assisting the US Naval destroyer with damage assessment and searching the area around the ship, working on the possibility that some of the missing may have fallen into the ocean.