PHILIPPINE SEA - USS Fitzgerald (DDG 62) was involved in a collision with a
merchant vessel at approximately 2:30 a.m. local time, June 17, while
operating about 56 nautical miles southwest of Yokosuka, Japan.
As of this time, there have been two patients requiring medical evacuation.
One was Cmdr. Bryce Benson, Fitzgerald's commanding officer, who was
transferred to U.S. Naval Hospital Yokosuka and is reportedly in stable
condition. A second MEDEVAC is in progress. Other injured are being
assessed. There are seven Sailors unaccounted for; the ship and the Japanese
Coast Guard continues to search for them.
Although Fitzgerald is under her own power, USS Dewey (DDG 105) got underway
this morning as well as several U.S. Navy aircraft, and will join Japanese
Coast Guard and Japan Maritime Self-Defense Force helicopters, ships and
aircraft to render whatever assistance may be required.
"U.S. and Japanese support from the Navy, Maritime Self Defense Force and
Coast Guard are in the area to ensure that the Sailors on USS Fitzgerald
have the resources they need to stabilize their ship. As more information
is learned, we will be sure to share to it with the Fitzgerald families and
when appropriate the public. Thank you for your well wishes and messages of
concern. All of our thoughts and prayers are with the Fitzgerald crew and
their families," said Adm. John Richardson, Chief of Naval Operations.
"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. "We thank our Japanese partners for their assistance."
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