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Mother: Son tried to save Navy shipmates after collision

The U.S. Navy says the bodies of sailors who went missing in the collision between the USS Fitzgerald and a container ship have been found aboard the stricken destroyer.The damaged USS Fitzgerald, right, is seen near the U.S. Naval base in Yokosuka, southwest of Tokyo, after the U.S. destroyer collided with the Philippine-registered container ship ACX Crystal in the waters off the Izu Peninsula Saturday, June 17, 2017.Vice Adm. Joseph Aucoin declined to say how numerous seven missing sailors had been recovered from the Fitzgerald because the families of those who died were still being informed Sunday.USS Fitzgerald collided with ACX Crystal, a merchant vessel registered in the Philippines, at around 2:30 a.m. local time, about 56 nautical miles southwest of Yokosuka, Japan.The bodies were found by Navy divers yesterday, a day after it returned to the base in Yokosuka with the help of tug boats.Search crews had to work their way through the extensive damage to the Fitzgerald’s starboard side before they found the sailors, the Navy said.”A significant portion of the crew was sleeping” when the destroyer collided with the Philippine-flagged container ship, destroying the commander’s cabin, he said. “I can’t tell you how proud I am of the crew for what they did to save the ship”, he said. The two damaged berthing compartments house a combined 116 crew members, Aucoin said.The Navy says the ship was damaged above and below the water line.Those who did not survive might have killed by the impact of the crash or drowned by the flooding, Navy spokesman Lieutenant Paul Newell said.The Navy’s statement did not say how numerous seven missing sailors had been found, whether any had been found alive, or whether a search was continuing for some of the missing in the Pacific around the area where the accident took place, some 60 miles off the coast. The area sees heavy maritime traffic, with 400 to 500 vessels crossing it daily. “Repairs would take some time to complete”.”The damage was significant, this was not a small collision“, he said.Benson was flown off the crippled ship by helicopter after the accident and was being treated at the naval hospital at Yokosuka, according to Aucoin, as were two other sailors who were medevaced.The container ship ACX Crystal weighs 29,060 tons and is 222 metres (730 feet) long, much larger than the 8,315-ton Navy destroyer. The container ship’s left bow was dented and scraped, but it did not appear to have sustained any major structural damage.He thanked “our Japanese allies” for their swift assistance, and said the Navy will full investigate the cause.The initial Navy investigation will gather facts about what happened, with the 7th Fleet commander eventually deciding what disciplinary action is warranted, the official said.Seven sailors were missing, and while the U.S. Navy hasn’t yet made an official statement about the exact number of bodies, CNN reports a navy official saying seven bodies have now been found.All of the ACX Crystal’s 20-member Filipino crew were safe, according to Japanese shipping company Nippon Yusen K.K., which operates the ship.Some ship trackers showed the container ship making a U-turn before the collision, a move that has raised questions about what happened.