The US Navy has identified seven sailors who were killed when their destroyer collided with a container ship in Japanese waters on Saturday.
The sailors were found in flooded berths onboard the USS Fitzgerald, said a statement by the US Navy.
At least three others were injured in the collision which took place near the port city of Yokosuka.
Many of the Fitzgerald’s crew were asleep when the incident happened. The US Navy said it was investigating.
The warship has since been towed to the US naval base in Yokosuka.
The seven sailors were reported missing after the incident which took place at about 02:30 local time on Saturday (17:30 GMT Friday).
The Navy has now said that divers gained access to the damaged areas and found their remains.
The commander of the 7th Fleet, Joseph P Aucoin, told reporters that the collision caused a “big gash” under the warship’s waterline.
He said the vessel could have sunk were it not for “heroic efforts” by crew members, which prevented the flooding from “catastrophically spreading” to other parts of the warship.
Marine traffic records suggest that the container ship, the Filipino-flagged ACX Crystal, made a sudden U-turn roughly 25 minutes before the crash. It is not known why it changed course.
Similar records for the USS Fitzgerald are not publicly available.
According to maritime rules, vessels are supposed to give way to ships on their starboard side which is where the damage to the destroyer is – sparking questions over whether the US ship could have been at fault.
The Navy said the remains of the following sailors had been found:
- Dakota Kyle Rigsby, 19
- Shingo Alexander Douglass, 25
- Ngoc T Truong Huynh, 25
- Noe Hernandez, 26
- Carlos Victor Ganzon Sibayan, 23
- Xavier Alec Martin, 24
- Gary Leo Rehm Jr, 37
The ACX Crystal reportedly sustained lighter damage to its port bow.
There were no injuries among the 20 Filipino crew members on board the container ship.
USS Fitzgerald: Sailors killed in collision off Japan’s coast named}