Divers searching for 10 missing American sailors have located some bodies inside the stricken US destroyer, a day after it collided with a merchant vessel near Singapore, a US Admiral said on Tuesday.
Admiral Scott Swift, the commander of the US Pacific fleet, did not say how many bodies were found inside the ship, but disclosed that Malaysian Navy vessels also found one body. The officials said work to identify the bodies found inside the USS McCain was continuing, CBS News reported.
US military divers started searching the flooded parts of the US destroyer for the missing sailors after the collision near the Strait of Malacca on Monday. Five other sailors were injured in the incident.
The search operation involved aircraft from the amphibious assault ship USS America, along with coordination from local authorities, including ships and planes from the Malaysian and Singaporean Navies.
The incident prompted the US Navy to order a rare, one-day operational pause in response to the collision, which was the latest in a string of accidents involving Navy vessels — with four occurring in Asian waters this year alone.
“This trend demands more forceful action,” Chief of Naval Operations Adm. John Richardson said.
One of the missing seamen was named as Petty Officer Logan Palmer in a Facebook post by US Congressman Rodney Davis, who said that he was in touch with the missing man’s family.
Meanwhile, the state-run China Daily newspaper criticised the recent spate of accidents, saying the US Navy was becoming “a hazard in Asian waters”.
“It may be hard for people to understand why US warships are unable to avoid other vessels since they are equipped with the world’s most sophisticated radar and electronic tracking systems, and aided by crew members on constant watch,” the English-language daily said.
Calling the US Navy a “dangerous obstacle” and an “increasing hindrance to ships sailing in Asian waters”, the article said there was “no denying the fact that the increased activities by US warships in Asia-Pacific since Washington initiated its rebalancing to the region are making them a growing risk to commercial shipping.”