The bodies of missing sailors have been found by Navy divers already on Sunday aboard the stricken USS Fitzgerald that had a collision with a container ship in the busy waters off Japan.
The Navy said in a statement that searchers entered the spaces that were damaged during the collision and brought the remains to Naval Hospital Yokosuka where they will be identified. Seven sailors had been missing, but Yoko Kato, a spokeswoman for the U.S. Navy in Yokosuka, said not all seven were recovered. She didn't specify how many were found so far.
The families were being notified by authorities and provided all the support they need during "this difficult time." The Navy said the names of the sailors will be released after all notifications are made.
After the predawn Saturday collision with a Philippine-flagged container ship, the damaged destroyer was pumping out water as it limped back to its home port in Yokosuka Naval Base south of Tokyo by sunset Saturday or sixteen hours after the collision. Its crew lined up on deck. The Philippine-flagged container ship was berthed at Tokyo's Oi wharf, where officials also started questioning crew members about the cause of the crash.
At least three other crew members, including the captain, were injured in the crash. The accident also damaged two berthing spaces, a machinery room, and the radio room. Most of the more than 200 sailors aboard are expected to be asleep in their berths at the time of the collision.
It has yet to be established what caused the crash. Japan's coast guard officials said the sea and air search continue at the site of the collision.